Work center

Work center for unemployed people with disabilities

Working in a work center is a new form of rehabilitation activities for unemployed persons with disabilities in the Republic of Croatia, the aim of which is to maintain and improve work and work-social skills and abilities for immediate preparation for employment of persons with disabilities.

URIHO – v Work center started operating on April 6, 2009. His program has a strongly functional character in terms of updating all the potentials of a person with a disability. Its uniqueness is reflected in the fact that the pace and scope of mastering the content of the program are adapted to the abilities, knowledge and skills of each individual person with disabilities. This implies a strong individualized approach working with people with disabilities.The main goals of the Work center for Persons with Disabilities were:

  • strengthening the work potential of unemployed persons with disabilities,
  • renewal of professional knowledge and skills and improvement of communication and social skills,
  • assessment of the employability for unemployed persons with disabilities,
  • strengthening the employability and competitiveness of unemployed persons with disabilities in the labor market,
  • support in finding a suitable job,
  • strengthening the social inclusion of persons with disabilities in the life and work of the community

The target group of the Work center consists hard-to-employ unemployed persons with disabilities who, according to their abilities and previously acquired knowledge and skills, are between work occupation and employment in protective workshops and integrative companies, in the open labor market.

Work center methods


The program concept envisages the following groups of activities:

  • user selection,
  • implementation of the so-called diagnostic week,
  • implementation of work diagnostics programs for determining the remaining working abilities, knowledge, skills and habits of persons with disabilities acquired in previous education or training for independent living and work,
  • creating perspectives,
  • conducting programs and work training for maintaining and improving work skills, and acquiring new knowledge, skills and habits of various occupations and jobs (assistant tailor, assistant leather haberdasher, assistant bookbinder, assistant locksmith, assistant shoemaker and most recently - assistant chef),
  • implementation for the program of social - communication activities within the extended rehabilitation of users,
  • monitoring users with an assessment of the degree of employability for persons with disabilities,
  • job training of users,
  • mediation in employment and providing support in the transition of a person with a disability from the work center to a sheltered workshop or to the open labor market (with job coaching and, if necessary, assisted employment).

The work is performed by an interdisciplinary and interinstitutional team of experts: instructors for various occupations, special educators, social worker, psychologist, technologist and CES expert employment counselors.

Different forms and approaches are used in the work, such as:

  • Pindividual work with users (acquisition of knowledge, skills and habits, observation, behavior corrections, interviews),
  • group work - workshops of social - communication skills (so-called soft skills),
  • team sessions (at the end of each month, more often if necessary),
  • work with user families,
  • on-the-job training of users,
  • contacts with employers by the CES and representatives of the RC team (after the first assessments of the employability of the beneficiaries)

The duration of RC activities for one user is currently 6 months. Given the structure and severity of their disability, it would be objectively necessary to provide work - social training for a period of 12 months while ensuring the possibility of an exceptional extension of a further 6 months.

During the work and stay of the user in the Work center, difficulties were noticed which, if not acted upon in an appropriate way, can have an additional negative effect on the employability of the user, such as:

  • poor motivation,
  • low level of self-confidence,
  • insufficient level of social support for a person with a disability,
  • emotional upgrade of subsequently acquired disability:

That is why psycho - social support programs are implemented in parallel through work - social - communication trainings with the aim of insight into personal problems, gaining and strengthening self - confidence, organizing personal value system, using existing work potentials, strengthening motivation and social inclusion in everyday life.

Work - social - communication trainings include:

  • participation in workshops "Life skills training" - communication, decision making, problem solving, creativity and critical thinking, recognizing and expressing emotions, self-awareness, self-esteem, empathy,
  • going to various events, theater, cinema, sightseeing, visits to associations for people with disabilities, watching educational and entertainment activities,
  • work in creative workshops, artistic expression, listening to music, musical expression, encouraging sports, participation in various sports activities
Achieved work center results

Since 2009., 51 percentage of users have been assessed as employable in the occupation for which they were educated. For 49 percentage of beneficiaries, an assessment was made for temporary unemployment in the occupation for which they were educated because of the several following reasons:

  • average level of work efficiency well below 50% (acceptable minimum in sheltered conditions during the observed period),
  • the quality of the workmanship is far below average,
  • level of work and social skills far below that which would enable minimal work - social adaptation (it was not corrected even by applying work - social skills workshops)

58% of employable users were employed after work - social training which lasted 6 months to a year, mostly in sheltered workshops. 25% of users from the group of temporarily unemployed in the profession are employed in the simplest jobs of cleaning, maintenance of green areas and other simpler ancillary jobs, mostly with the help of public works.

The average level of user satisfaction with the activities of the Work center is high 4.5. In the competition of the Croatian Network for Development and Creativity 2010 in the category "Creative and innovative project of encouraging and developing tolerance of acceptance of diversity in the business environment" on April 21, 2010 URIHO - s Work center won a great 2nd place.


Adress: Zagreb, Avenija Marina Držića 1

Phone: 01/6184 198 / 01/6430 053

Telefax: 01/6185 089


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