The VASTE Programme is a €13 million project part financed by the European Social Fund under Operational Programme II (2014 – 2020) being implemented by the Jobseeker Services Division in partnership with the Lino Spiteri Foundation (LSF).
The overarching target of the project is to bring vulnerable persons closer to the labour market through training and job exposures opportunities, which could lead to employment in the open market or self-employment. The project is built around the needs of the vulnerable audience, including persons with disability, former inmates, former substance abusers and other socially challenged individuals.
The main activity of the project is the development a Vocational Multi-Disciplinary Assessment Centre, to offer detailed assessment services to the targeted. Such assessment helps Jobsplus/The Lino Spiteri Foundation guidance service to tailor a personal training plan and employment exposure. Multiple training options such as Pre-Employment Training, Basic ICT Training, Sheltered Employment Training, the Headstart Programme and Supported Employment (On-the-Job Coaching) are also offered to the clients.
- Pre-Employment Training is offered to four distinct groups: persons with intellectual difficulties, persons with physical/sensorial difficulties, persons with mental health challenges and other vulnerable individuals. Courses range from 50 to 100 hours of training depending on the training referred to.
- Basic ICT Training aims to provide clients with practical knowledge, skills and competences required to use ICT, use the Internet, send and receive email and use Microsoft Word to prepare a Curriculum Vitae and covering letter. Through this training programme, the client also learns to identify and apply the correct practices and habits to work with ICT equipment safely.
- Sheltered Employment Training gives the opportunity to clients with intellectual or other severe disabilities to receive hands-on training in different tasks such as back office, assembly of products, packaging etc. The duration of this training is of 52 weeks, during which, clients work within groups assisted by Job Coaches. Skills such as work ethics, independent living, communication and social skills are embedded within this programme. The main objective of this initiative is to offer maximum opportunity to those with severe or multiple disabilities, possibly instigating achievement from sheltered to supported employment.
- Headstart is a six-month programme offered by The Lino Spiteri Foundation with the scope of increasing work prospects within the labour market. The aim of the programme is to assist individuals in enhancing their competences related to employment. It simulates a work setting and is structured in a manner that helps individuals to improve relationships and social skills, understand work-related skills and procedures and foster workplace ethics.
- The VASTE Programme is also working to increase the number of work placements and employment retention of other vulnerable individuals. This is being achieved through Mentoring services which are being provided to clients prior and during employment as necessary.
- Throughout Supported Employment, the client is given training and re-training on the specific job tasks according to the individual’s needs. Job Coaches are assigned to facilitate the integration of the individual at the place of work by the identification of a ‘work buddy’ who will volunteer to handhold the vulnerable individual on an ongoing basis to retain employment.
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