SEA Project - Supported Employment in Action
The SEA Project was a Development Partnership funded by EQUAL NI with the Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment as the lead partner.
The SEA Project aimed to:
- strategically review the practices and policies impacting people with disabilities accessing employment
- explore and develop the model of Supported Employment by test bedding/researching the model
- further explore employment policies and practices for people with disabilities and the Supported Employment model in other European countries
Objectives of the Project:
- construct and maintain a long-term partnership capable of surviving the life of the project
- establish a partnership of key stakeholders and policymakers to strategically review current social and economic policies and practices
- identify and communicate policy gaps to relevant policy makers and government departments at local, national and European level
- research the model of Supported Employment, an innovative model of employment for people with disabilities
- promote the model of Supported Employment as a mainstream government programme
- explore and develop the model of Supported Employment for other socially excluded groups
- establish and develop European Transnational Partnerships with other EU states to work in partnership to explore employment policies and practices, model of good practice and exchange information etc.
Under EQUAL, all projects were required to set up a local partnership consisting of who they perceived to be the key stakeholders. NIUSE as lead partner merged a Development Partnership with the following representative bodies:
- Disablement Advisory Service (Department for Employment & Learning)
- Social Security Agency (Department of Social Development)
- Disability Unit (Department of Health and Social Service and Public Safety)
- Homefirst Community Trust
- The Orchardville Society
- Action Mental Health
In order to research the model of Supported Employment and collate both quantitative and qualitative data, the SEA Project deployed two key methodological approaches; firstly establishing 2 research groups and secondly, commissioning an external consultant to carry out a Social Return on Investment (SROI) study.
With the support of NOW, The Cedar Foundation, Disability Action, USEL, Action Mental Health, RNID, RNIB, The Orchardville Society, Stepping Stones, MENCAP, Dr B’s, New Horizons Partnership and Triangle the research groups met every 6 weeks to December 2007 documenting evidence related to their experiences of Supported Employment.
The Practitioner Working Group consisted of practitioners working towards/or delivering Supported Employment. The Beneficiary Focus Group consisted of people with disabilities.
Both groups discussed, recorded and ranked the barriers to employment from their own perceptions as service users and service providers.
The Beneficiary Focus Group mapped their employability journey and documented what employment means to them using various methods. A sub group from the Beneficiary Focus Group also held a successful workshop at the recent ‘Nothing About Us Without Us’ Conference organised by and for people with learning disabilities.XXX
In addition to participating in a focus group setting, the Practitioner Working Group assisted with identifying and supporting beneficiaries required for the Social Return on Investment (SROI) Study.
A representative from each of the research groups was nominated and from July 2006 both became members of the Development Partnership. This underpinned the grass-roots approach of the project connecting key policy stakeholders with service users and service providers.
From January 2006 Lodestar had been working with NIUSE to implement a Social Return on Investment (SROI) study to collate monetary investments and costs associated with Supported Employment. EMPLOYABILITY UNITED TRANSNATIONAL PARTNERSHIP:
The SEA Project transnational partners are from France, Cardiff and Czech Republic.XXX
The main aims of the Transnational partnership was to:
- Explore the use of the Supported Employment Model for other socially excluded groups
- Explore how other EU Countries have mainstreamed the model of Supported Employment
The Employability United Transnational Partnership met 4 times from November 2005