In the past two decades we have seen significant changes in Europe in the ways of delivering services for disadvantaged groups, and in particular for people with disability. Services must now consider new elements such as social inclusion, user’s rights, opening to social environment and community near services. These new elements have an impact on the skills required for professionals working with persons with special needs, as well as on service management and on the structure of managing bodies.

This need for adequate training and professionalisation can be seen in a bigger perspective as addressing the whole Social Economy (SE), which is a sector composed of companies that in their entrepreneurial approach carry the values of social innovation and transformation, as well as the desire for social equity and sustainable economic harmony. They are driven by the principles and values of sharing, ethics, democracy, and social responsibility. These companies are now experiencing many changes that generate a specific need for specific training and skills renewal of their managers. Therefore, it is more than ever necessary to provide these managers with high-level training focused on “agile” organisations, able to facilitate the expression and the creativity of teams, and to efficiently manage changes. This is particularly true for service providers dealing with people with intellectual disability.

In ARFIE, this important topic was firstly confronted in 2008 in the context of the COMCADES project (COMpétences spécifiques des CAdres/entrepreneurs de l’Economie Sociale), which highlighted the diversity of training programmes for managers through the prism of social intervention. In particular, the project pointed out that there is no common benchmark for the social economy sector whose managerial training programmes are different in each national context. Furthermore, the project highlighted that the identified areas of competence of the social economy deserve to be developed through a common training framework to respond to the weak European dimension of the existing training programmes.

Ten years later, a group of organisations belonging to our Network has decided to take over from the 2008 project and commit to develop an innovative action called COMCADES-2 aimed at:

– developing a professional training for managers of the SE enterprises active in the disability field (health-care and social sector) to be tested in dedicated pilots in each country involved;

– laying the foundations for a European recognition of this training programme based on a European qualification framework;

– Strengthening the cooperation among SE actors and create a European network to share and disseminate values and tools, and develop a common discussion on professional training and innovation.

Coordinated by Tricentenaire (a Luxembourg based social enterprise) with the support of ARFIE, the new project enjoys a very committed partnership and is composed of organisation active in the field training and service provision that share a common transnational vision for governing issues in the field of SE and disability: APEMH (L), FAIRE-ESS (F), AMPANS (E), FENACERCI (P), CERCIG (P), DEMETRA (I), CADIAI (I), ARFIE (EU), Legacoop Sociali E-R (I).

The project has just started and will last until August 2023. During this period, it will deliver 4 intellectual outputs and 4 training pilots that will test the training content and the training framework.

All the partners are already working hard to finalise the first Intellectual Output, which is focused on the analysis and comparison of the different national training and certification system. Here ARFIE is responsible for collecting information on the different national contexts of training and qualification for managers of the Social Economy. This activity (intellectual output) aims to support the partnership in updating the training needs (validation of areas of competence) and approaches (learning methodology), and allow partners to move forward and develop the qualification framework and the training program. You can contribute to this output by filling the questionnaire that you can find here:  English / Français / Italiano  / Español / Português .

Stay tuned to know more about COMCADES-2.

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