Nigel Fenner User-centred work with people with disabilities – for social enterprise 4th Annual UK Social Entperprise Research Conference 4th – 5th July 2007
To share the experience of enabling students with disabilities to drive their own work experience / employment project forward using a ‘person-system-role’ framework. Purpose of this presentation
Is a project of Hertfordshire PASS Is user-driven Uses employment to develop greater independence in people with disabilities Is grant-aided by the Big Lottery Fund Involves a partnership with Oaklands College – a tertiary college, and Started September 2006. WorkABILITY…..
‘learning difficulties’ ‘physical disability’ ‘Aspergers’ WorkABILITY – Operations Group
“What are we here for? What is your understanding of what this project is about?” Questions posed at the start of every Operations Group meeting:
“Getting kids to employment…into work. To do activities to help with getting employment.” (Introductory session – 22 Sept 06). Follow-up discussion: A student said he did not like the term ‘kids’ as it implied that students were still in primary school. ‘Students’ or ‘young people’ were preferred labels. (4 Oct 06).
“To help people find employment” (19 Oct 06). Follow-up discussion: .....who the project was for, given that the grant from the Big Lottery was awarded for ‘disabled people’ – resulting in 2 of the students with learning difficulties (who did not see themselves as disabled) dropping out of the project.
“To get someone to help us find work experience” (14 Dec 06) Follow-up discussion: on dependency: ‘who is this someone?’; ‘what will they do, that you can’t do for yourselves?’.
“To enable students with disabilities to find work experience and work” (11 Jan 07) Follow-up discussion: on the use of the word ‘disabilities’ and possible alternatives: ‘differently-abled’; ‘learners with additional needs’; ‘learning difficulties… learning disabilities’; ‘physical disabilities’; ‘learning challenged’; ‘impairments’.
“Overcoming barriers to work for people with learning / physical challenges.” (25 Jan 07). Follow-up discussion: ‘For’ in this sentence was changed to ‘with’ on 22 Feb 07.
“We see ourselves as progressing our individual roles within the (Operations) group. We all wrote on the board provided in the room what role each member has….” (8 March 07) - as minuted by the secretary.
‘secretary’ ‘chair’ ‘member’ ‘Employment assistant’ ‘Peer mentor’ WorkABILITY – Operations Group
The work of the Grubb Institute of Behavioural Studies who developed the ‘person-system-role’ framework. Why focus on purpose and role?
The ‘person-system-role’ framework (Reed et al, (2002). Becoming fit for purpose. The Grubb Institute.)
Developed by the Grubb Institute of Behavioural Studies in combining practical understanding of experiential learning, psychoanalysis, and open systems theory (after the Tavistock Group Relations tradition). Origins of ‘Person-System-Role’ framework
The case study emphasises the importance of clarifying the purpose or primary task of the project so enabling the students to define and understand the system they are operating in. ‘System’ – case study
“An awareness of the primary task of the organisation as “the main institutional ‘ballast’…..keeps the organisation, both membership and leadership, steady….” The task of leadership is “to see that the concept of the primary task….is not only uppermost in the minds of all the members, but that it is constantly reviewed…” (Armstrong (2005). Organisation in the Mind. Tavistock Clinic Series, Karnac.) ‘System’ – in the literature
“The purpose of role is to enable persons to engage in organizational work to achieve the aim of their particular system. Persons may be given a position, tasks, job and the use of resources but I suggest they cannot be “given” a role. What they are given is a system to work in, and the aim or purpose of that system. From such information a person then tries to discover how best they canengage with the organization and its task….” (Reed, (1998). Organisational Transformation. Grubb Institute.) ‘Role’ – in the literature
“A member of (an) organization needs to develop a skin that provides appropriate boundaries that separate that person from the organization and from the outside environment. If the skin is too thin, it becomes too permeable and allows excessive flow across it; in other words, it facilitates considerable boundary confusion and over identification with others. If, on the other hand, this skin is too thick, it is inadequately permeable, and leads to a blocking off of the person’s capacity to relate, empathize, and deal appropriately with others.” (Stein, (2004) in Gould et al. Experiential learning in organizations. Karnac, London.) ‘Person’ – in the literature (1)
“Each person has within themselves the capacity for growth and self enhancement, provided certain conditions exist.” (Reid in Merry (2000) Person-centred practice. PCCS Books) In WorkABILITY such conditions exist through attention to ‘person-system-role’. ‘Person’ – in the literature (2)
One member of the Operations Group wants to establish a mentoring programme Another member is exploring ‘equipment for work experience’: hire and training - as social enterprises. What next?