Estonian best practices for Nordplus project

Collected by Anneli Habicht and Külliki Bode (The Estonian Chamber of Disabled People)

02.10.2015

1. “From an idea to first steps”

Archimedes Foundation Youth Agency (Estonian NA for Erasmus+) implemented a training for young people with disability in cooperation with The Estonian Chamber of Disabled People. The training took place in December, 2011. It was a follow up idea for trainings that had been taken place few years before. The Estonian NA has been always very focused on the theme and values of social inclusion, making sure that young people with fewer opportunities will have a equal change to get involved in the European youth programmes. In 2009 the NA organised a training for young people with various disabilities called „Come and give it a try“, which was aimed to support young people to find their ideas that they would like to implement in an international youth work setting. After that we developed a training in a simulation setting to give young people the experience of changing their own environment and future, so that they would see their own possibilities and responsibilities to build the society they would like to live in. To support those young people who had found an idea to fulfil and to help those who are struggling to make their idea into project a training was developed together with the Estonian Chamber of Disabled People. The training was called „From an idea to first steps“ and it took place at the end of 2011.

The training took place in the framework of EU Youth in Action programme. The Youth in Action programme, which ran from 2007 to 2013, aimed to inspire active citizenship, solidarity and tolerance and involve young people in shaping the future of the European Union. This training was a onetime event followed by individual support to young people who wanted to apply for the project grant. The whole programme took place mainly in non-formal learning setting.

The training was built on enabling the young people to learn about project management – the first step from an idea to the implementation of the project. These skills can be used in both leisure and professional life. Target group of the training was young people from 13-30, which was the age limit of the YiA programme. Most of the participants were around 16-18. years. The young people who took part of the training had different disabilities – physical, visual, hearing and also mental health problems. We aimed the training exclusively to this target group, since we have learned that although young people value the possibility to be in a mixed ability group they still feel more comfortable to take part in trainings which are aimed specially to disabled young people.

The training was surely not aimed directly to make young people more skilled to enter the labour market, but more to provide them an easier access to the world of projects within the EU programme, that gives young people the chance to learn many valuable competences that they can use later in their work life.  

Both of the trainers had experiences in working with young people with disabilities, one of them had also long term work experience and diploma in social work. No special assistance was given to young people, since the training was planned and implemented so that everyone’s needs were taken into account. Young people were given the possibility to come together with their personal assistant if needed.

As a result, some of the young people who had been involved in several training activities organized by the NA had also reached their own projects. Taking part of the European Voluntary Service or being involved in youth exchange project. However, it is important to state that young people with special needs to need more support from youth work to reach their goals. In Estonia the youth work has developed a lot the last years to make sure that the youth workers would be more skilled to involve different young people, but a lot is still to learn about young people with disability.

2. Finnish language course

Kind of educational activity: language course (Finnish)

The activity is accessible for the whole population or only for persons with disability: accessible for the whole population. Part of the participants had hearing impairment or visual impairment.

Is it for specific kind of disability? If yes – please identify.: No

Age of learners: 30-60 y

Size of the group: 7 learners  

How many times per month: 4 times per month (once in a week for two hours), all together 40 + 40 hours

Is it formal or non-formal education? Non-formal

Is it education for leisure, hobby or professional skills?: All purposes: leisure, hobby and professional skills

Is it possible to find a job after this education? Maybe they have some statistic data?  Yes, mainly, as foreign language skills are always advantage on labour market. Being able to use Finnish supports finding job at hotel and tourism and service sector in Estonia.

Do the special needs educators or personal assistance is provided?  No, but educator was flexible on producing information in oral and written. Educator was also ready to slow down the tempo of the course, which mean learners only reached to obtain 50% of the programme until the end of the course. All together it was decided to have additional classes to finish the programme.

What kind of assistance: No special assistant

Does specific social services are providing (i.e. transportation or similar): No specific social services where provided

Does the educator needs for specific materials or equipment to educate persons with disabilities? She used suitable methods, for ex. producing oral information in written on the board to make information accessible for learners with hearing impairment. For learners with visual impairment the book was printed out with larger print.

Does the educator has background of working with persons with disability?  She had some experience working with learners with hearing impairment.

Did the educator obtain the specific background in the specific learning establishment or does he/she is self-learner? : She had some earlier experiences with learners with hearing impairment and she also learned during the process, but had no specific background neither learning establishment.

Does the activity receive state support? No, but learners with a disability could co-finance the course with state subsidy for adult learners with disability. The total subsidy for three years is 613 euros and it can be used for covering different formal or non-formal learning costs.

Is it paid activity? How many?: Learners paid 229 Euros each

Education process organizing: THINK Eesti MTÜ (NGO)

3. Sign language course

Kind of educational activity: sign language course

The activity is accessible for the whole population or only for persons with disability: whole populations

Is it for specific kind of disability? If yes – please identify: Not by purpose, but part of the participants where with hearing impairment

Age of learners: 30-60 y

Size of the group: 7 learners

How many times per month? 4 times per month (once in a week for two hours), all together 40 hours

Is it formal or non-formal education? Non-formal

Is it education for leisure, hobby or professional skills?: Partly for professional skills, partly for social skills.

Is it possible to find a job after this education? Maybe they have some statistic data? Not exactly, but finishing the course allows to continue learning on the next levels which may result with working as sign language interpreter

Do the special needs educators or personal assistance is provided? No, but the educator was deaf herself

What kind of assistance: No assistance          

Does specific social services are providing (i.e. transportation or similar): No

Does the educator needs for specific materials or equipment to educate persons with disabilities? No

Does the educator has background of working with persons with disability? Yes – former working experience with deaf and people with hearing impairment.

Did the educator obtain the specific background in the specific learning establishment or does he/she is self-learner?

Does the activity receive state support? No, but learners with a disability could co-finance the course with state subsidy for adult learners with disability. The total subsidy for three years is 613 euros and it can be used for covering different non-formal or formal learning costs.

Is it paid activity? How much? learners paid 229 euros each

Education process organizing; THINK Eesti MTÜ (NGO)