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 Staff Matters! Disability Workforce of Tomorrow, October 2019, Helsinki Finland

The conference “Staff Matters! Disability Workforce of Tomorrow.” will focus on the topics of ­­­­­­­­­­­­­ recruitment, retention and training of social care & support workforce in the context of the growing demand for service delivery in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). Conference participants will discuss and share best practices on how to manage human resources to facilitate the implementation of the UN CRPD.

The conference will be organised in a way that addresses the following 3 key themes:

1. European trends: future of work

a. EU perspective: Mobility of workers, recognition of qualifications

b. Migration: effects on sender countries and receiving countries

c. Digitalisation

d. New types of employment and work arrangements


2. Meeting the future training needs

a. Training based on the UN CRPD and Human rights approach

b. Training for management: leadership in disability services and change management

b. Skills for workforce of the future

c. Human resource management: recruitment and retention methods


3. Making the sector attractive

a. Image of the disability sector as employer

b. Organisational culture, positive working environment, value-based organisations

c. Staff motivation and career development

Workforce is the greatest asset of an organisation. For service providers for persons with disabilities this is particularly true: to deliver high quality personalised services that address the needs and desires of persons with disabilities, it is important to have a strong care workforce with the right training and skills.

Social care & support has a great job creation potential. In 2016, the share of health & social care in total EU employment was 10.94%, with care workers being the occupation with the largest numbers of people employed within the sector. The need for care workers will continue to grow: in the period 2015-2025, employment for health & social care in EU is projected to change by 7.83%.

Despite the growing demand for labour force in the social care & support sector, service providers find it challenging to find and to keep qualified staff, especially among young people. As this sector is vital for ensuring social inclusion, it is important to implement strategies, both at political & industry level, to create attractive working conditions and job opportunities, as well as to invest in the development of the workforce.

In addition to attracting employees to the sector, service providers also feel the urgent need to train and retain their staff to successfully transition towards the person-centred and community-based approach. As such there is a need to explore new work arrangements and recruitment approaches, as well as practical tools for implementing organisational changes.
Supporting the development of social care & support staff requires a collaborative input of all stakeholders: service providers, employees, service users, policy makers, researchers, etc. The Helsinki conference aims to bring all these stakeholders together.