“Suppported employment, safety net for young adults from vulnerable groups”

interview with Alexandru SAVA, regional manager, Spartan Restaurant

Why did you make the decision to integrate people from vulnerable groups, including young adults with disabilities, into your team?

Indeed, we works with people from vulnerable groups in order to give them the chance to integrate on the labour market, and to have an independent life. Spartan Restaurant – one of the largest fast-food restaurant chains in Romania – offers them a friendly work environment. For example, we had an employee diagnosed with hearing impairment, who accomplished the requirements of her job well, and enjoyed harmonious relationships with her colleagues.

When did you start to collaborate with our team?

We have been working together since April, when the manager of one of our restaurants from Brăila employed a young beneficiary of LEAD project. I coordinate activity in Brăila, Constanța și Bacău, so I found out from my colleague about opportunities offered employers by HAO. We lacked staff in Constanta, so I called Olivia because I wanted to hire suitable people. Your colleague visited us, at our headquarters, and gave me valuable information regarding the Supported Employment process. I thought it is an interesting win-win approach, and we decided to work together.

How did you collaborate with our team?

Olivia understood what kind of employees we were looking for, so she recommended us a few beneficiaries. Then, we organised interviews. Subsequently we decided to hire four young adults.

What do you think about the Supported Employment process?

This employment process offers advantages to both the employer and the young adult, so the wide spread of the Supported Employment model is needed. Our workers are more efficient, because of the support provided and monitoring carried out by HAO specialists. Moreover, Olivia has worked with my colleagues in order to help them communicate constructively with new employees, and in order to identify the problems that could appear during the integration process, and to solve them. These were important steps in order to establish a long-term collaboration. Many young people from vulnerable groups have faced abuse, and traumas, and they do not trust themselves and their peers.

The assistance provided by the HAO team during entire employment process helps the young beneficiaries easier integrate into a team. Because of you, they can understand and accept that there are workplaces where people feel valued. The Supported Employment process is a safety net for NEETs.

How did your colleagues receive them?

We are a responsible employer; we offer safe workplaces. The newcomer are like any other employee of the company. We take care to their needs, so that they feel comfortable at work, but wedo not make any kind of difference between them and other members of our team.

Do you recommend to other entrepreneurs the Supported Employment model? Why?

We wholeheartedly recommend to other employers, regardless of their activity field, to integrate young adults in this way. Business community are need these kind of projects, which support entrepreneurs to hire suitable people, who want to work. I think that this employment model contributes to the improvement of employees’ retention, which it is an important aspect for employers.

Thank you! We wish you good luck in business!

The project “Labour market Employment for young Adults with a Disability – LEAD” is funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment.




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