Knowledge platform to promote participation in the workforce in people with an occupational disability

Maastricht University opens Inclusive Labour Organisation Expertise Centre

On Friday 30 September, Maastricht University will open its Inclusive Labour Organisation Expertise Centre. This knowledge platform promotes participation in the workforce by people with an occupational impairment by making knowledge gained from research practicable for companies, government bodies and social organisations. The Inclusive Labour Organisation Expertise Centre is supported by the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) and works closely with the Limburg Employers’ Association (LWV). Rianne Letschert, Rector Magnificus of Maastricht University (UM), has opened the centre during the ‘Inclusivity Works’ conference, which the expertise centre organised on 30 September.

'We provide companies, institutions and professionals working on participation issues with knowledge and expertise on inclusive labour organisations. This helps to ensure that people with occupational limitations can also become active on the labour market. Everyone has the right to participate fully in our society. Work is an important part of this,' says Fred Zijlstra, professor of Labour and Organisational Psychology at Maastricht University and director of the Inclusive Labour Organisation Expertise Centre.

The new Expertise Centre will be opened by Rianne Letschert, Rector Magnificus of Maastricht University, in the form of a conferenced titled 'Inclusivity Works', which will be held on 30 September. 'As a university, it's important to make research and knowledge available to companies, governments and social organisations,' says Letschert. 'Social knowledge utilisation is a priority at UM. The Inclusive Labour Organisation Expertise Centre contributes to this by offering a knowledge database, advice and training programmes. Becoming an inclusive labour organisation requires quite some commitment. The university has a lot of in-house knowledge and expertise at its disposal, which it would love to share with companies and institutions via this new centre.'

The Expertise Centre is supported by the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). 'The Inclusive Labour Organisation Expertise Centre will make an important contribution to achieving the national objective of creating 125,000 extra jobs for people who cannot earn minimum wage due to an occupational disability,' says Fred Paling, member of the UWV Board of Directors. 'The UWV and Maastricht University have spent several years developing a method to help employers reorganise work activities to make it easier for them to hire people with an occupational disability. I strongly urge governments and employers to use the Expertise Centre and use the knowledge they gain to help people with a disability find suitable work.'​

The Inclusive Labour Organisation Expertise Centre will collaborate closely with the Limburgse Werkgevers Vereniging (Limburg Employers Association, LWV). 'Our association has 1,400 members in Limburg,' says Mark [A1] Hendriks, secretary of the LWV. 'These employers are extremely interested in exchanging knowledge of and experience with the employability of people with occupational disabilities. The partnership with the Expertise Centre is an excellent addition to the existing activities in this field.'

About the 'Inclusivity Works' conference
We are all facing a huge challenge on the labour market. More and more people are facing a higher threshold to entering paid work and often fail to meet the high requirements imposed. At the same time, companies are struggling to fill vacancies. One solution is to create an inclusive labour organisation that helps people with occupational disabilities find suitable employment. The conference on 20 September 2016 at MECC Maastricht will examine questions such as how inclusivity works, why organisations should become inclusive and how we can help establish more inclusive organisations in order to meet the requirements set out in the Job Agreement Act (Wet Banenafspraak).




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