Top of page
Education and Employment

Report shows that workers with intellectual disabilities are not considered employable in Finland

Portrait of happy women with disability having fun in spring park

The latest estimate released by the Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (FAIDD) revealed that trained students from special needs institutions struggle to find work once they graduate.

There are 30,000 working-age people with intellectual disabilities in Finland, but fewer than 1,200 of them have jobs.According to the report, there are around 6,000 educated and motivated people with intellectual disabilities who — given the right support — could immediately take on jobs as kitchen workers or cleaning staff in restaurants and cafes — sectors facing acute labour shortages.

However, prejudices against those with developmental abilities and an overly cautious attitude from disability management services as well as family members can end up being detrimental to their employability, FAIDD employment expert Simo Klem said. “The approach has been care-oriented rather than forward-looking. But they are not mutually exclusive — care and support can be provided at a workplace,” Klem said. He added that the attitudes people have towards those with special needs play a major role. The attitude of a municipality can also play a decisive role in their future, Klem said.

“If the person guiding individuals with special needs does not believe in their potential and employability, then they most likely won’t end up in a workplace either,” he said. Students can train in some 20 different professions at Spesia, but struggle to find paid work after graduating. In Finland young people with special needs are rarely employed directly and often end up in subsidised or community-funded work. A few municipalities in Finland have been waking up to the employment potential of educated young people with special needs.Over the last five years, the city of Jyväskylä has focused on career coaching in disability services to combat the challenges faced by the graduates when it comes to finding employment.

You might also like

Kristi Archer intern Kristi Archer intern

Arts and screen professionals with disabilities shine with internship program

Minister for the Arts Ben Franklin said the internships provide…

Front view of woman in wheelchair working at desk Front view of woman in wheelchair working at desk

Government inks agreement for innovative disability employment pilot

The Albanese Labor Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding…

Woman in wheelchair working in the office Woman in wheelchair working in the office

Manitoba government launches Disability Income Support Program

The Manitoba government is officially launching Manitoba Supports for Persons…

woman in a wheelchair past the security gate in the office woman in a wheelchair past the security gate in the office

Canada creates Disability Inclusion Business Council to improve workplace accessibility

Approximately 2.2 million working age Canadians with disabilities are employed,…