One in six people in the European Union (EU) has a disability that ranges from mild to severe, making about 80 million people limited in their capacity to fullty participate in society and economy, mainly because of attitudinal and environmental barriers.

However, the full economic and social participation of this collective is essential if the Europe 2020 strategy is to succeed in creating smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. Building a society that includes everyone also brings market opportunities and encourages innovation. Thus, this Strategy sets in motion a process aimed at empowering people with disabilities so that they can participate fully in society on equal terms with others.

This European Strategy is embodied in Article 19 (Living independently and being included in the community) of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. To carry out a full implementation of this process, one of the key aspects is to respond to the right for personal assistance by recognizing the role of the personal assistant for dependent people.

Both the development and recognition of this professional profile is very different among European countries. Since the 1980s and 1990s, personal assistance services have been implemented in the countries of northern Europe. In countries such as Ireland, Great Britain, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, the Netherlands, Austria and Germany the role of personal assistant has existed for years. This role was promoted by the Independent Living Movement born in the United States in the 1970s.

Within this context, EU-Assistant has as main objectives:

  • To contribute to the development of a training itinerary for personal assistants.
  • To provide a curriculum and training materials in accordance with the EFQ.
  • To raise awareness about what this professional profile is and its importance.

The achivement of these objectives will base on the development of several results. Among them we outline the defintion of the professional competencies and a training path, and a basic course will be developed to train Personal Assistants in a collaborative learning environment.

EU-ASSISTANT is a Strategic Partnership, financed by the European Commission in the framework of the ERASMUS+ Programme.