Disabled Young People and Worklessness Network
This international network aims to explore the very urgent issue of the barriers to and often fractured pathways of disabled young people’s access to paid employment. The network is made up of leading researchers in the field of disability, health and paid work, bringing together for the first time experts from social policy, economics, labour market studies, psychology, rehabilitation, public health and health geographies to address this pivotal issue. The latest academic, policy and experiential evidence is used in a reflexive way that maximises knowledge exchange between academia, government and disabled people’s organisations.
Network Core Partners
The partners chosen have major standing in disability, health and contemporary workplace research. Each provides a specific disciplinary grasp of worklessness and factors supporting paid work. The partners in the network are:
- University of Leeds (Lead HEI; Sociology and Social Policy) Professor Alan Roulstone and Dr Sarah Woodin
- Durham University (UK) Professor Clare Bambra, Dr Jon Warren, Dr Kayleigh Garthwaite (Health geographies and public health)
- Cornell University (USA) Professor Susanne Bruyere (Rehabilitation Psychology)
- Katedra Specialni Pedagogicka (Czech Republic) Professor Jan Siska (Inclusive Education).
- TNO (Netherlands) Dr Edwin De Vos (Labour Market and Active Inclusion)
- Humboldt University (Germany) Dr Lisa Pfahl (Sociology of youth/labour)
The following associate/advisory members add wider expertise from youth studies, sociology, social work and health through involvement in the formative and summative symposia that front and complete the network’s activities:
- De Montfort University (UK) Dr Scott Yates (Youth Work)
- Newcastle University (UK) Dr Janice McLaughlin (Sociology)
- Northumbria University (UK) Dr Se Kwang Hwang (Social Work) and Dr Barbara Harrington (Health Research)
- Teesside University (UK) Professor Robert MacDonald and Professor Tracy Shildrick (Youth and Exclusion) (now University of Leeds)
Network Activities and Events
The network began on 1 September 2013 with a formative ideas-sharing symposium that brought together academics and researchers interested in disability, youth worklessness and exclusion. The event aimed to connect previous disparate thinking and to galvanise thought on both the challenges faced and international responses to young disabled people’s worklessness.
To complement the breadth afforded by the symposium, three country seminars are being staged in the USA (Ithaca), Netherlands (Amsterdam) and the Czech Republic (Prague) to work with additional invited country experts to ‘drill down’ in to country challenges and responses. Wherever possible the lead researchers are linking up with key organisations of disabled young people during the country seminar events. Through this they are gauging ground-level insights from disabled young people: finding out just what supports or limits their journey and aspirations to paid work. International differences are being explored and will be brought back to a summative symposium which will involve both core and associate network members. The network will run until December 2016.
Network Advisory Group
A network advisory group has been established to provide a stakeholder (non-academic) perspective that can help bridge the knowledge gap across these two domains. The steering group will meet three times over the lifetime of the project.