The 21st and 22nd of May Documenta, European Institute for Training and Development Studies organized a study visit to AMICA headquarters and to its Training and Employment Centers Entorno and Marisma in Cantabria, as part of the experience exchange activities planned by the Local LLL Power – Grundtvig Learning Partnership.
The Grundtvig Learning Partnership focuses on the empowerment of local people through lifelong learning strategies as a method within the local employment development (LED). This subject is approached through the exchange of experience in empowerment methods by means of lifelong learning approaches. AMICA organization proved to be a great model on the empowerment of people with disabilities through lifelong learning strategies in the region of Cantabria.
AMICA study visit was hosted by Sagrario Cagigas, President of Amica, Tomás Castillo, Managing Director and Paquita Gómez, Quality and Communication Manager of the organization together with Carmen Narváez, Fidel Fernández, and Marta Tresgallo among many other professionals part of AMICA’s team. They shared AMICA’s initiative, values, training methodologies and structure with the European Grundtvig Learning Partners within the MetropolisNet EEIG: Lawaetz-Stiftung (Hamburg), CIOFS-FP (Rome and Tuscany), Documenta (Santander), ZSI(Vienna), Gemeente Emmen (Emen), gsub Projektegesellschaft (Berlin).
Throughout the study visits we learnt how AMICA, a non-profit organization founded in 1984 responds to the problem of disability by making the most of everyone’s abilities and placing them at the disposal of the whole community. They are based on a successful and innovative approach focused on promoting people´s abilities in order to reduce the impact of their limitations in their everyday life, especially at work.
AMICA designed a three stage program that successfully integrates people with disabilities into the labor market. Throughout the full program participants are individually assessed and supported by professionals from a variety of fields. This program consists of three stages:
- 1. Pre-training stage: Participants are guided and trained to get ready to face job responsibilities, schedules, social rules at work, communication with co-workers, etc. This is done through lifelong learning strategies participants experience usual everyday work situations and activities including sometimes vocational training activities.
- 2. Vocational training stage: Participants learn how to develop the activities involved or required to be able to succeed in a specific job position.
- 3. Working practice experience, access to “protected employment”: participants get access to protected job positions for an unlimited period of time. If participants wish they are also assessed to go one step further and get a job at the regular job market.
Throughout the organized visits Local LLL Grundtvig partners had the opportunity to learn from a firsthand point of view ( AMICA’s professionals and participants), how AMICA´s three step integration program worked with environment related job positions at the Entorno Training & Employment Center and how it developed in a completely different field, the laundry services offered at Marisma Training & Employment Center.