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Andrea Meek and Elisa Vigna from the Engage to Change research team at the National Centre for Mental Health have travelled to Athens to present the outcomes of the Engage to Change project to the 5th IASSIDD Europe Congress.

IASSIDD (International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) gathers professionals and researchers from around the world.

Andrea chaired the symposium on ‘Supported Employment and Job Coaching,’ one of the few contributions on supported employment and employment for people with learning disabilities and autism. The symposium featured two papers delivered by Borja Jordan de Urries, the first exploring the role of job coaching in supported employment in Spain, the second presenting the University of Salamanca internship programme called ‘Practicapaces.’ Elisa presented the outcomes of the Engage to Change project at the end of the second year, underlining the important role of job coaches to deliver real employment outcomes. Andrea presented the outcomes of Engage to Change: DFN Project SEARCH in Wales over the first two years.

The symposium was a great success, inspirational for many attendees, and followed by a lively discussion on the different strategies to tackle employment challenges for people with learning disabilities and autism in different countries across the world. Topics such as sustainability, level of disabilities, job coaching, and mentoring emerged as high priorities for future progress.