Inclusive Society: Instituto Politécnico de Santarém brings together young people with SEN from the labor market through technology

Launched this year in collaboration with 40 companies and 118 volunteers, the Digital Literacy for the Labor Market Training Course is the first inclusive education training in a context of higher education implemented in Portugal.

Created by the Instituto Politécnico de Santarém, this Course qualifies young people with special education needs (SEN) with a degree of incapacity equal or superior to 60%. The model of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid Training Course inspired this Training Course, which has a duration of two academic years. Its final purpose is the integration of young people in the labor market and is part of the National Initiative on Digital Competencies (INCoDe.2030).

In the course students learn digital literacy, that is, learn how to connect a computer, create an email account, search, attach files, take pictures and produce videos.

Working out the emotions, overcoming obstacles, as well as the sense of frustration and knowing how to relate to others and the job market are other skills worked on.

The curricular unit I teach for this semester “Professional Profile Construction” is very much linked to the companies that will foster internships to the students and our goal is to work the competencies and functions requested by the partners.

On April 2, the 11 students presented the ongoing work on the development of digital skills to the Minister of Science and Higher Education of Portugal, Manuel Heitor, including preparation for paid internships in companies and public administration.

Six months later, students acquired more skills in writing, reading and speaking, but also developed social competences, as they attend the bar, cafeteria and other social spaces of the Institute.

Above all, we want them to feel happy and to learn digital skills that are important to the job market.

This training course is also contributing to policy changes because internships will be paid in public institutions.

At the end of this first edition, the great goal is to take this course to the whole country, to promote inclusion.

Contribution by:

Maria Potes Barbas was born in 1965, in Lisbon, Portugal. She holds a PHD Degree in Communication and Education Multimedia at Universidade Aberta, a Pos-Doctorate by Universidade de Aveiro (UA) and a Tenure in Education with speciality in eLearning by the UAb. Professional capacities_Full Professor (Communication and Education Multimedia) at ESE-IPS and an invited Associated Professor at the Universidade Aberta (Open University_UAb).
She is also the Head of the Projects and Internationalization Experience_Professor of the curricular units of Project, Seminary and Interactive Argument at the School of Higher Education. Expertise_Networking, ICT professional skills, INCLUSION; elearning; Ethics issues, IoT; Safety. Nominated by FCT in Portugal to become an “e-Skills for Jobs ambassador” in Portugal, an EU initiative based on a multi-stakeholder partnership that facilitates collaboration among business and education providers, public and private actors, through actions that attract young people and promote employment.

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