State of the Art

Employment and special needs


We are well aware of that this report cannot give a full view of the situation in EU and in the member countries regarding to the area of people with disabilities and their possibilities in training and employment. However we think that the report can contribute to a broader view and knowledge of the possibilities for people with disabilities throughout EU and not the less it might be an inspiring insight for

others that work with people with disabilities whether it is organizations, companies or political institutions.
The report reflects the fact that it is primarily sourced in different countries in the EU with very different forms of structured society. From highly developed Welfare State in the northern part of EU to the southern part of EU, where the work with people with disabilities depends more up on the contribution and engagement in private organizations. We do not think that it is our job nor the point to this report to judge what might be the best way to solve the challenges. Never the less we want to point out that to realize inclusion there has to be a national strategy and the necessary resources – finance, staff, education and support in the work. Inclusion is not done by talking but by making inclusion to a legally binding right for people with disabilities and that includes the necessary resources.

Due to the large differences in national structures it is hard to make a direct comparison between the countries. (nor is this the aim of the project) The background and political differences are too big. In that sense it will be more fruitful just to read the different parts of the report and be inspired from the ways the different countries try to solve similar challenges.

The report will be part of the background material for the work in Count Me In to include people with disabilities in the cultural and artistic sector. This work will include a book with examples of good practice of inclusion of people with disabilities in cultural institutions in a broad sense, a training course for the staff in the institutions who face the challenge and responsibility of including people with disabilities in their work and an eLearning portal with the same purpose.
Count Me In will result in specific material and tools developed for the institutions and the persons who will face the challenge of preparing the way for real inclusion for people with disabilities in the cultural sector:

Good Practice Examples


AspIT is a customized model of education for young people with Asperger Syndrome.

- A new word has emerged as a contraction of the term aspie and IT.
- A term we use for people with Asperger Syndrome. The word has a positive connotation and highlights the positive aspects of having Asperger syndrome.

What is AspIT?

In 9 places in Denmark a number of vocational schools are offering vocational training to aspies with focus on IT. It lasts three years. The training is called AspIT. AspIT is an education under Særligt Tilrettelagt Ungdomsuddannelse (education for young people with speciel needs) in daily called STU.

 During the training the students have the possibilities to:

  • To acquire skills on the same level as on ordinary vocational educations in Denmark.
  • To be in an educational environment with other young people interested in IT.
  •  To achieve an internship with the necessary account taken.
  • Get training aimed to the young persons needs and interests
  • To work based on the internet
  • To learn in a fixed and manageable framework with few teachers
  • Get help to find a job or eventually continue the education

We are part of AspIT concept, which works through a specially designed IT training to create employment for people with focused talents.

AspIT’s values and mainpurpose

AspIT’s position is:

  • that education / training is a qualification process that strengthens identity and development.
  • the process to develop self-esteem, self-confidence, a meaningful life, an experience of being valuable to society when you make use of abilities and is an active part of the community.

AspIT's education and learning environment is characterized by safety, well-being and development.

AspIT’s main purpose: To get young people into the ordinary labor market.

AspIT can document that 80% of the students have achieved employment within their focused talent on the time when they have completed AspIT training - individual pupils achieve even employment in the companies, where they have had their internship, already after two years at AspIT.

Who can be admitted to AspIT
AspIT is designed for young people of normal intelligence but with a Diagnose in the Autismspectrum. They have skills and motivation in working in the field of IT.
They must be able to:

  • Read, write and express themselves in Danish and have reasonable readingskills in English.
  • Have a good understanding for mathematics.
  • Be set to look for a job after ending the education.
  • Be able to meet 8:30 every morning and maintain personal hygiene every day and be self-operating.

About AspIT

The basic idea is that young people who leave school are related to labor in the IT field in a way that matches their skills.

Young aspies are often caught in the established education system. It is difficult to develop curricula for young aspies, because there are no qualifying alternatives to traditional education.

The young people who apply for admission in AspIT can be characterized as young people who have not always been able to complete primary school and everyone has the diagnosis - Asperger Syndrome. They therefore have schoolpapers, that means that they cannot easily be absorbed and implemented in ordinary programs.

The students all have excellent knowledge of Danish (read and write), English (read) and mathematics (the logical sense), as well as a keen interest in IT. They have absolute skills in specific subject areas within Information Technology.

None of the students will be able to participate in regular training as their need for individual learning, predictability, order and rhythm of everyday life and the need for very specific learning, it is not possible to implement in the regular educational institutions.

To enable young people to achieve qualifications through education, organized according to their specific needs, there is no doubt about that. After the first two years students have been documented, personal and IT-related skills that enable them to solve concrete tasks for companies implementing internship and receive learning at a high level IT professional level.

Trainees with focus on IT talent

Students from AspIT have good skills for IT. They are skilled to focus on a task, they are very loyal and often an IQ above average. AspIT's placement schemes tailored internship. The period can be from 6 weeks to eighteen months and takes place at Asp ITs insurance - so it is no cost to the company.

Mentor Training gives a good start

To ensure the best conditions around the internship AspIT offers a special Mentor Course to the company. The aim is to give participants insight into the factors that characterize a person with Asperger Syndrome, and what considerations the workplace should cater for all parties to make the most of the internship. The course is also available for sharing experiences with representatives from other companies.

AspIT in Denmark

AspIT was founded in Vejle. Today it is a nationwide offer to young people with Asperger Syndrome.


AspIT is a special training for young people with disabilities, in this case Asperger, with a high rate of following employment in all type of companies and organizations. The trainees are employed in all kinds of jobs - programmer, webdeveloper, IT Support, picture, audio, video, IT administration, economy etc. Many have gained job in museums, schools, archives, organizations for housing etc.

The special and remarkable about AspIT is the fact of the focus on one particular group of young people with disabilities. The focus gives the opportunity to optimize everything regarding the situation of learning in hole; the environment, specializing teachers and other staff, support and mentoring etc.

It might be a way of thinking that could be transferred to the training of people with other kinds of disabilities: Be focused on their skills, talent and special needs for support and let that be the guideline for the training, support and the following employment.

IT in a broad sense is a vital part of every company and organization today including the cultural sector. This group of young people with Asperger could be a resource in cultural institutions to lift an important job in the organization.


Glad Foundation - a social enterprise

Glad Foundation is driven by a single powerful idea - that people with disabilities, can both produce and deliver relevant and original contributions to the culture and society at large.

The goal is that disabled are included in society, and have the opportunity to develop their full potential.

This is achieved via relevant employment prospects, where the top-professional approach is mirrored in the final results.

Glad Foundation has, from the very beginning, been standing for original and ground-breaking activities.


The worlds first TV station for mentally disabled

It all began with TV-Glad - the first TV-station in the world, run by and for people with learning disabilities. It went on the air in June 1999.

The original vision was concerned with the creating of a better quality of life and ensuring freedom of expression for people with learning disabilities. Today the goal is broad inclusion in society with particular emphasis on the job market.

Over the last 13 years – TV Glad have grown from being a small TV-station - with only 6 employees - to a company with many different activities, within education and commercial production:

Education and commercial production

The Foundation offers a 3-year training programme for young disabled people: Glad Vocational School. After finishing the school we offer employment - to some of the graduates - in our own enterprises.

The commercial production consists of four social enterprises:

- The drama company Glad Theatre

- The graphic design studio Glad Design

- The kitchen Glad Food

- and Glad “Media”

 All productions emphasising close working cooperation between disabled and non-disabled employees.

Glad Media

Encompasses all media departments – TV, Radio, Animation and Web. This is where the programmes are produced and the features for our TV transmissions, the homepage and other social media areas. Glad Media also encompasses Glad Production, which produces for external customers.

Glad Design

Creates graphic solutions, illustrations and designs for clothes, spaces, textiles, furniture and print. Glad Design is easily recognizable with its highly colourful, sensual and raw visual style. A style that is both fresh and spontaneous.

Glad Theatre

Is Denmark’s first professional theatre for, by and with people with disabilities. The actors are involved in both Glad Theatre productions and in Glad Casting. Glad Theatre creates unconventional theatre that challenges its actors and its audiences.

Glad Food

Is responsible for ensuring high-quality in-house food for all TV Glad employees, as well as running 2 restaurants, Cafe Glad”, a “lunch-catering”, and further more a daily cantina in a private business, FOSS Innovation Center, with 400  employees. Glad Food emphasises healthy food, using only the best ingredients.

Glad Vocational School

Offers a 3-year course for the young disabled. The school works with 7 main skills areas, and cooperates with the different in-house production departments. The 7 areas are: TV/video, Radio, Animation, Theatre, Design, Service and Kitchen.

Visions and development prospects

Glad Foundation, is one of the first social enterprises in Denmark. Activities are always established and developed in collaboration with the target group - the disabled people. This fundamental principle has shown itself - to be an enormous strength in the development of the business and its identity.

Glad Foundation has shown itself to be a serious and innovative partner. The business model fits in well, not only with developments in society in general, but also in a welfare society, where the agenda is to look for new, sustainable solutions. Solutions that very often include partnerships with the private business sector, municipalities, cultural and educational institutions as well as international organisations

Glad Foundation is a Danish organisation working with global media distribution perspectives.

Today there are nearly 200 employees, and 70 students at the four local departments in Denmark.


Glad Foundation is a remarkable organization that works within the cultural sector on the terms of people with disabilities. Glad Foundation today is a cultural institution itself with a global view including all kinds of creative training and activity in media, graphics, theatre, animation, design etc.

Besides the basic creation and vocational training in Glad Foundation the beautiful part of Glad Foundation is giving people with disabilities a voice and expression of their own in the society and in the democracy. In that sense Glad Foundation is not only the everyday life and identity of a large number of employees and students with disabilities it also is the very essence of the UN Charter for Human Rights and the EU Charter put into practice.


Sølund Musik-Festival

Once every year in June there is a big musicfestival going on in Sølund near Skanderborg in Denmark –

The festival is the biggest of its kind in the world for people with disabilities. Sølund as such is an cohabitation for about 220 adult people with severe physical and mental disabilities.

Sølundfestivalen is a festival for people with disabilities but it also has many people without disabilities as guests, including personal helpers and staff from various institutions for people with disabilities from all over the country, that every year visit the festival for the 3 days it is going on. In many senses the festival is like any other festival in Denmark with a lot of bands, a great amount of other activities and entertainment and booths with sale of food and drinks. But Sølundfestivalen might be the most joyful and happy festival in Denmark at all. The atmosphere is all full of joy, laughter and smiles from one ear to the other. Every musician loves to play on that particular festival because of the outstanding atmosphere.

This year (2013) the festival was visited by over 16.000 people – the vast majority of people with disabilities - who could listen to the music of over 40 different bands of all kind. The festival has about 60 sponsors. The foundation behind the festival was founded in 1986.


Because of its nature as a festival that booms in 3 days there aren’t many people in the organization for 11 months of the year. In the last month and during the festival there are a huge staff to prepare and for the festival to be held.

During the festival there are in total 2200 volunteers and 150 of those are people with disabilities.

People with disabilities

The volunteers with disabilities are doing a wide variety of jobs in setting up booths, setting up chairs and tables, packaging lunch packs, organizing food and beverage and keeping the ground clean from garbage during the festival. To be a volunteer everybody has to be able do their part of the job right and on time.


The Sølundfestival is indeed extraordinairy. Because of its nature as a festival there are not a great number of jobs over the year. But in the month of preparation and during the festival there are a lot of opportunities for people with disabilities to participate and being part of the event. The example of Sølundfestivalen can be transferred to a lot of other activities such as festivals, exhibitions, all kinds of events etc. where people with disabilities can be a very valuable resource.

Being a volunteer on Sølund Musik-Festival is an important and honourable job that gives the people with disabilities the chance to be part of a big and important event known by everyone in Denmark and thereby it generates selfconfidence. Somehow that is the essence and what it is all about at the end of the day: To be able to take part, to be useful and contributing with your skills and gain respect and pride in who you are.

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