About the practice
Where: Uricani village, Iasi county, Miroslava commune, Romania
Start date: 2008
Beneficiaries: 1. Persons with disabilities 2. companies with more than 50 employees that, according to ongoing legislation, have to employ people with disabilities in a percentage of at least 4% of the total number of employees
Funded by: agreements signed with companies from all over Romania
OVERVIEW OF THE PRACTICE
UTILDECO is an authorized shelter unit and work integration social enterprise founded by the Alaturi de Voi (ADV) Romania Foundation in 2002. The practice was developed as a way to create and maintain workplaces for people with disabilities and from other groups at risk, especially young people who had left the system of child protection.
UTILDECO has been recognized by the European Commission as a best practice and has also won the award EY Social Entrepreneur of the Year in 2016.
So far, more than 1,000 persons from groups at risk, including people with disabilities, benefitted from professional orientation and capacity building.
THE METHODOLOGICAL APPROACH
UTILDECO offers different types of services depending on the target group that benefits from the practice.
1. Services addressing people with disabilities
UTILDECO supports persons with disabilities from Iasi county through a free integrated package of social and employment services, all in one place, according to the principle of “one–stop–shop”. The package includes:
• Internship within the UTILDECO Work Integration Social Enterprise, owned by ADV Romania, during which people can acquire basic skills in fields such as: manual book-binding, archiving, tailoring, printing;
• Professional capacity building acknowledged on the labour market in the field of manual book-binding and archiving.
The offer is personalized in accordance to the needs and profile of the customers, which are evaluated through: a system of professional counselling and orientation; a job coaching service; the use of the CASPER testing battery (a complex instrument for the assessment of people with disabilities allowing the creation of an “occupational profile” and identifying the best suitable job); and the testing with the CAS++ battery (a software for psychological testing).
Progress of participants is assessed by looking at: the satisfaction degree of the client with respect to the products/services they procured; the adaptability to the needs of the final beneficiary; the number of workplaces available for the employment of persons with disabilities; and the period for maintaining the employers within the company, mainly of persons with disabilities.
. Services for companies
UTILDECO offers companies from Iasi county a specialized package of services and the possibility to procure goods and services based on Law 193/2020, which modifies and completes Law 448/2006 on the protection and promotion of the rights of people with disabilities. Some of the services offered are:
- Work protection equipment;
- Document archiving and storage;
- Bio-degradable packing;
- Digital printing services;
- Interior/exterior polystyrene decorations;
- Event organizing;
- Recruitment of persons with disabilities;
- Health and safety matters.
The managers of UTILDECO maintain permanent contact with the clients in order to make sure the final beneficiary is satisfied with the goods/services received.
3. Online services accessible at national level
Through the www.utildeco.ro site, UTILDECO offers at national level the possibility to order and procure different products/services from the available list of goods.
TYPE OF SKILLS DEVELOPED
Participants who benefit from the practice are able to discover and develop their native as well as professional skills that can support them in finding a job in the labour market. In particular, people receive training and develop skills in the field of archiving (including digitization of archived documents) or manual binder, tailoring and digital printing.
THE INNOVATIVE ASPECT
UTILDECO is the only service of this type in Romania offering an integrated package of services adapted to the needs of people with disabilities.
The intervention package uses two innovative tools:
- a job matching service;
- a job coaching service – helping people to maintain the job and avoid the failure in employment.
IMPACT & SUSTAINABILITY
Thanks to the job matching and job coaching services, UTILDECO has been supporting people - especially people who have not completed their studies, have no qualifications and have never worked - in developing valuable skills and finding and maintaining employment in social enterprises or the open labour market.
The sustainability of UTILDECO is guaranteed by its capacity to reinvent, adapt and adjust the practice itself to customers’ demands.
 A commune (comună in Romanian) is the lowest level of administrative subdivision in Romania. The country does have 2,686 communes. The commune is the rural subdivision of a county, while urban areas, such as towns and cities within a county, are given the status of city or municipality.