In the last few months PEPSAEE (Panhellenic Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation & Work Integration) has been delighted to cooperate with KoiSPE “Diadromes” and to participate as a Local Stakeholder (LSC) in SEPAL project. Part of this partnership is the apprenticeship of Mr. E.K. at the Specialized Day Centre – “PEPSAEE Social Dialogue Centre”.
Mr. E.K. was introduced to the organisation four months ago, when he visited the premises along with the WISE expert Evie Georgakopoulou in order to gain a direct, first-hand experience of the context and the people of PEPSAEE and ssimilarly for our associates in PEPSAEE to meet the participant. In this first meeting E.K. was quiet but showed his sincere intent to conduct his apprenticeship at the centre as he really liked the space.
In the meetings that followed, he gradually familiarised himself with the site and the employees and from the very first day of his apprenticeship he took up certain duties. Specifically, he has undertaken the preparation of the room where the IT training groups are carried out – that is the 2 out of the 41 workshops that are being held this year at the Centre for Social Dialogue. Mr. E.K. obviously feels more comfortable in the centre while also developing dialogue with other employees. However, the consistency shown by his impeccable commitment to his duties must not be overlooked.
During the COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent lockdown, E.K. ceased his apprenticeship until further notice. His frustration was evident as well as his impatience to reconnect and complete his participation. During the quarantine period, he had constant and regular contact with the WISE expert Evie Georgakopoulou, who supported him and helped him to increase his tolerance for waiting, to verbalize the feelings and dissatisfaction he experienced, in a quarantine with no visible horizon. Furthermore, the WISE’s role was to fill the gap created by the quarantine and to ensure the “continuity” of the project (and of the services provided) within this unpredictable condition.
When the government introduced the easing of lockdown restrictions, E.K. was thrilled to receive the news of his resuming the apprenticeship in PEPSAEE. In the meantime, many things had been modified in the operation and services provided by PEPSAEE, such as the cancellation of some of the workshops, in which E.K. had the task of preparing the room.
A new meeting was carried out, that was attended by the WISE expert, the LSC’s representative Ioanna Tsambalati (Psychologist MSc, Head of the Office of Supported Employment) and the participant, during which the duties of the E.K. were redefined. Specifically, and given that E.K. had a long experience in gardening, he was assigned the corresponding tasks in the garden of PEPSAEE. Mrs. E. Prokopiou, who has the overall responsibility of the garden also attended the meeting and was appointed as the participant’s mentor for the specific tasks.
The cooperation of KoiSPE “Diadromes” with PEPSAEE dates far back and is remarkably close. The SEPAL project offered the opportunity to systematise the exchange of experiences, expertise, and good practice, as well as activities which may lead to long-lasting quality projects, partnerships and networks.