Supported Employment Programme can be a solution! Special attention should be given to young adults with disabilities available to work on the long term!

Interview with Constantin Teodorescu, manager, Logi Bic, Constanța

Reporter: You are one of the important local furniture manufacturers. Some time ago, you decided to employ two young people with disabilities in the company. How did they integrate into your team?

Yes, indeed, the young adults with disabilities worked during the last school summer break, when they were available to work. After starting school, it was no longer possible to collaborate, not even on a part-time schedule. The two young people worked in the upholstery production unit. After a few days in which they observed how the activity is carried out, what are the operations performed and how the products are made, my colleagues started to get them involved in these activities. The young adults learned to make sofa structures and upholstered products. One of them integrated very well and if the school schedule had allowed him, I would have wanted to keep him in the unit. I am convinced that the other one would have also adapted, he only needed more time. Initially, my colleagues looked at the two young adults with a little distrust, but eventually they got used to each other and managed to work well together as a team.

Reporter: How did the two young adults get into your company?

I participated to a job fair organised by the The Constanta County Recruitment and Employment Agency, where I met Alina Sachelaru, from the Supported Employment Center. She presented me the services offered within LEAD project, and talked about the Supported Employment programme. We wanted to do good things for the community and for the young adults with disabilities.

Reporter: The two young people’s addition to your team took place with the support of our specialists in the Constanta Supported Employment Center. How did you cooperate with our team?

We had a very good collaboration. We received support in conducting the interviews that preceded the entry of young adults into our team, in the employment procedure, and even after they started to work. Alina Sachelaru kept in touch with us and with the young adults, checking up on the progress made by the two young men periodically.

Reporter: How do you evaluate the Supported Employment programme?

This programme can be a solution for both young adults with disabilities and for companies, but I think that the attention should be focused especially on those young adults with disabilities available to work on a long term. It is important to the young adults to gain a minimum of experience during the summer holidays, but that is not enough, neither for them, nor for the employers. The integration of this social segment requires efforts from companies and it would be beneficial for all parties involved for these young adults to remain to work in the unit. On one hand, they would create a work and life routine, while on the other hand, they would “return” to the company a part of the investment. Also I consider very useful the frank discussions between the HAO representatives and the entrepreneurs, held before the young adults joined the companies. In this way, young adults could be better prepared, they would know what is expected of them, and could make an informed choice.

Reporter: How it is to work in this difficult period, both in terms of health and economics?

Initially, I worked with the whole team, but later on, I have decided to send some of the workers onto technical unemployment. As you know, most companies face cash flow problems. I hope we reunite our team soon.

Reporter: Thank you for your kindness to have us interview you and we wish you good health and good luck in your business!


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