Reference Number: PR180291en, Press Release Issue Date: Feb 09, 2018
​​€3.3 million ‘INK’ project launched to aid 300 vulnerable people enter the labour market

Parliamentary Secretary for Persons with Disability and Active Ageing Anthony Agius Decelis and Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia launched the INK project, which aims to continue to strengthen the social inclusion of persons with disability when it comes to engaging in employment. The project, co-financed by the European Union through the European Social Fund, has a total budget of €3.3 million.

Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia stated that the project is part of a plan which intends to help vulnerable people enter the labour market. He noted that the project will aid 300 people with special needs, 450 members of their family, and a number of employers.

Parliamentary Secretary for Persons with Disability and Active Ageing Anthony Agius Decelis stated that it is not enough to train persons with a disability. Hence, apart from individualised training for persons with disability, the project will include training for persons who are in contact with such persons, including family members, employers and professionals in the sector. Anthony Agius Decelis reiterated that the innovative aspect of this project is that recognition will be given to employers who abide by the guidelines for accessible employment provided by the Commission for the Rights of Persons with a Disability (CRPD), following a site audit of the organisation.

The project will be managed and implemented by Aġenżija Sapport. Other organisations involved in this project are CRPD, as regulator, and an Irish organisation, KARE. Furthermore, over the three-year period, around 80 participants will have study-visits in Ireland, where they can share their experiences in the project, hence promoting peer-learning.

Parliamentary Secretary Farrugia explained that this project, which is financed by the European Social Fund, will result in:

i)                     The opening of 6 independent living hubs, one of which is in Gozo so that people with

special needs will be given more help;

ii)                   Training that will be given to people with special needs, their families and employers;

iii)                  A campaign which includes television and radio programmes;

iv)                  Recognition that will be geared to incentivize both the beneficiary as well the firm on

the direct involvement and participation in the labour market;

v)                   Information packs which will be handed out.

The Parliamentary Secretary said that the Government’s strategy in this sector is one where each project is connected to each other. He mentioned that together with Minister Evarist Bartolo, a similar project (The VASTE Programme) was already launched, where vulnerable people are being aided in order to makes sure that they enter the labour market. Aaron Farrugia said that in contrast to what others used to do, this Government is enforcing the quota which concerns people with special needs in the workforce, where employers who employ more than 20 people are obliged to have at least 2% of their workforce who are people with special needs. “As a Government, we want to see that that vulnerable people are given the necessary aid so that even they can contribute to society”, concluded Aaron Farrugia.