Aim & Outcomes: This session will assist the SE consultant to acquire knowledge/ competencies for interact successfully with potential employers using different “instruments for networking”.
Since its establishment the supported employment focuses mainly on the demands of the job seekers- People with disabilities. Lately, it is assumed that awareness of the need for employment and recruitment by employers is essential for achieving a long- term employment. Increasingly popular is the view that Supported employment consultants must take into account as seriously the needs of employers. Undoubtedly the process of supported employment should be beneficial for both the job seeker and the employer. By participating actively in the process, the person with disability should be encouraged to perceive himself/ herself as an employee, which will be beneficial to the appropriate employer. It could be a serious mistake that the Supported employment consultants spend considerable time to identify client needs and determine the profile of the profession and substantially less time and energy to understanding the needs of the employer. Namely because the employer make the selection and decide whether to hire a worker, he/she is equally important client of the service of Supported Employment, as the person with disability is. The Supported employment consultants must develop their skills to engage employers, in order to be able to identify suitable job vacancies and to support their clients in all stages of the process of finding a job.
Informal methods are often used in the supported employment in order to ensure job positions as: defining the tasks according to the skills of the PwD, requests in various places for free and suitable jobs, informal contacts. The SE consultants should also be familiar with formal methods for finding employment, including: the completion and submission of application forms; job seekers need to be trained how to write their CV and how to conduct themselves during a job interview. More information on this topic could be found in Module 6 “Attitudes and approaches”. The awareness of the SE consultants on the formal and informal approaches to finding job would lead to improvement of informed choice and self- determination of jobseekers and also to increase the competence of the consultants to better meet the needs of employers. The use of formal and informal techniques for finding work is highly recommended since in this way the SE consultant can choose the most appropriate approach for a given situation.
The interaction with employers does not always take place in private meetings. The marketing materials could play an important role in the promotion of services for supported employment in a professional manner. Production of marketing and advertising materials can be expensive, but they can have a great positive impact on potential employers, if they are made available and professionally. Their most important task is to show the professionalism of the service provided.
The SE consultants must collect extensive and detailed information on the labor market in the region. It is equally important for them to examine the needs of potential employers. The consultants need to be aware of the needs of the labor market, both now and in predicting the future trends. They must know well the local labor market issues that employers face in their daily work, in order to be able to demonstrate this knowledge as an element of their expertise in working with employers. In addition, the SE consultants must understand the needs of employers from workforce and training, sometimes unique by themselves - there is no approach which is the same for all. It is not sufficiently to rely on the fact that "it is the right way" from a social perspective, and consultants must be able to show that this is good in terms of the business aims of the employer. This will lead to the establishment of stable relationships, mutual trust and respect between the parties and will highlight the benefits for employers who have accepted to work with SE consultants in hiring PwD.
Both creativity and flexibility are needed when deciding how to look for the most suitable job for a disabled person and only through appropriate training the SE consultants could improve their methods in supporting the process of job finding.
Appropriate behaviour (in order to achieve the desired result) during the meeting with potential employers:
- Know the concrete subject of the meeting.
- Be sure your business card is with you
- Prepare the necessary information (documents).
- Have clear idea about what are the expectations of the other participants.
- Express your position justified and competently.
- Do not interrupt, but encourage communication.
- Keep notes during the whole meeting.
- Be the active part.
- Explore and involve the job seeker;
- Always seek his consent to continue work on the process;
- Always put the job seeker in the center of the process;
- Explore potential employers;
- Encourage employers with experience in supported employment to talk to other employers;
- Make sure that everyone who is involved in the process, fully understand his role;
- If a job seeker agrees, include in the process and his family;
- Get to know all the initiatives and schemes for employers and how they affect both the job seekers and the employers;
- Be honest with the jobseeker and the employer about the support they need and the extent to which it could be provided to them;
- Always follow the given promises and deadlines;
- Maintain professional conduct at any time, use quality advertising materials, business cards and brochures;
- Keep track of current job offers.