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In 2017 Greece, there are still things that are not self-evident, such as accessibility and integration of people with disabilities into the labour market. People who, in spite of their studies and qualifications, have a hard time finding companies that are both accessible and willing to offer career development opportunities. In this context, ethelon, a non-profit organization, hosted on Saturday, April 29th a Career Day for People with Disabilities at the Technopolis-City of Athens: ''Career Fair.4all'', a step in the right direction and an interesting experience for all participants and companies involved, as well as the volunteers that helped organize and support the event. The ''Career Fair.4all'' event was held with the support of the John S. Latsis Public Benefit Foundation, under the “Points of Support” programme. Nineteen companies held over 1,000 interviews with around 250 persons with disabilities, while a total of over 350 people attended the Career Day for People with Disabilities, the Entrepreneurship Competition, the ''Hack.4all'', as well as several speeches.
On Saturday, from the very opening of the event, the turnout was high enough to fill the Technopolis hall where the companies were positioned and a line of interested participants was formed in front of each booth. Each participant received the specially designed Career Fair.4all bag, which included a map in braille or large print, information about the companies and institutions attending the event and gifts for the participants, while at the same time the organizers offered free interpreting service and trained guides for the blind.
A week prior to the event, and in order to ensure that both sides were ready, three special training seminars were organized: the kariera.gr team prepared participants for the resumes and interviews and the British Council Greece, in collaboration with foreign specialists, advised several companies on the subject of integration of people with disabilities in the business culture and procedures. This year, the focus was also on legal issues, so as all sides could be fully supported in this area, with guidance and information.
In the context of the Career Day for People with Disabilities, 25 of the top candidates selected by the participating companies will take part in a specially designed mentoring programme in collaboration with the Job Pairs non-profit organization, with the aim to achieve the best possible integration in the labor market within the following 6 months.
The participating companies in the ''Career Fair.4all'' are some of the major companies in their field, such as kariera.gr, Papastratos, SΤΟΙΧΙΜΑΝ, Robert Bosch, Miscosoft Hellas, Intrasoft, Printec, the National Bank of Greece, etc.
Moreover, 15 Civil Society institutions participated in the event that informed the attendees about their programmes for people with disabilities.
In addition, under the topic “Diversity or Uniqueness”, nine people, full of inspiration and passion for life, talked about collaborations and projects concerning educating and empowering people with disabilities, and how they used their own characteristics to stand out by making their dreams come true.
Lastly, the ''Hack.4all'' Entrepreneurship Competition, with the input of 8 mentors, helped develop ideas and solutions to improve the daily routine of people with disabilities. The winning team developed a mobile application which could navigate people with vision impairment through any space by GPS.
Paralympic Medal Winners, famous artists and athletes, who had participated in the #IAmHere campaign, thus supporting the activity of ethelon, also honored the event with their presence.
According to Kostapanos Miliaresis, one of the co-founders of ethelon and the person in-charge of the event:
"The 2nd Career Day for People with Disabilities does not end here... for us, this was just the beginning. Our purpose was to take the necessary step forward, to bring both sides together and give them the appropriate stimulation since, as we have already seen through volunteering, these are people with no shortage of abilities and many companies out there have the understanding to benefit from their valuable contribution".
The next set of interviews is already under way, as the participating companies, in their own words, were impressed by several participants’ level of expertise and untapped talent.