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The November 2009 “EU Employment Situation and Social Outlook Report states that The ‘Health and Social Services’ domain constitutes one of the most important sectors for the European economy.

This in not only from the size of its share in economic output (5% and 13% of GDP) but also from the level of employment in the sector (about 20 million workers in 2010). In 2009 the sector accounted for value added of over €800 billion. However, value added in the sector differs enormously between the EU-15 and the new member states (NMS) - the NMS represent only 3% of the EU value added.

In the EU social services the workforce amounts to roughly 30%. The share is very different across member States. In partners countries the share is less than 20%, while in some old Member States, like Denmark, the share reaches nearly 45 %.

Some old Member States also have a relatively low share. In Belgium the share accounts for only 20%. Although major differences are present between countries with respect to the magnitude of long term growth in employment in the sector, all categories of countries have recorded employment growth over the last decade. There are a number of challenges facing health systems in Europe. EU health systems have to perform a difficult balancing act, firstly between increasing demands on health services and restricted supply, and secondly regarding the need to respond to the requirements of different elements of the population (they have to face the challenge of adapting healthcare systems to an ageing population).

Ageing populations, new therapeutic possibilities and rising expectations have made the provision of health care much more complex than in the past. The need to be cost effective and reduce hospitalization have become a priority. There is also a new emphasis on prevention rather than treatment. Health professionals must acquire a range of new skills. This project will help by providing trained people to support this new industry whilst helping those at disadvantage by providing training and where possible accreditation, leading to new jobs.

The Veneto Regional law 3/2005 (Italy) “indications on complementary therapies" recognizes Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI) as a valid and effective treatment. In relation to the EU initiative "New skills in new jobs" the project aims at creating a new professional profile to support and help the AAI team: the therapy dog handler.

Te.D2 project aims at providing the evidence base, resource and skills to enable Animal Assisted Interventions to be more widely used in each partner country by learning from the innovative practice of an Italian partner who has extensive experience in this field and an opportunity for unemployed to become retrained and fill the skills gap as therapy dog handlers. The Te.D2 project will see the Argo course developed and delivered in Italy, adapted for use with unemployed people of different countries. The project seeks to implement the adaptation and evaluation findings from the previous Te.D1 project and will follow a similar methodology thus bringing added value to the new project in terms of its evidence base and partners Ulss4 Montecchio Precalcino and Associazione NET experience of delivery in Europe using a tested and successful methodology . It has a strong link to the Europe 2020 strategy (including headline education, employment and poverty targets) by ensuring that the most vulnerable people in society such as unemployed, do not get left behind or become further socially excluded.

The project relates directly to the Erasmus+ objectives on equity and inclusion by promoting and facilitating access to the labour market, training and mobility opportunities to citizens from disadvantaged backgrounds at high risk of social exclusion and contributes to the strategic framework for European cooperation in education and training by linking to ECVET and supporting the adoption of the EU transparency and recognition tools such as EQF. The European Qualification Framework for lifelong learning (EQF). EQF is a “Meta-framework” that “has been designed to act as a reference for different qualifications systems and frameworks in Europe.” It “provides a common reference framework which assists in comparing the national qualifications systems, frameworks and their levels. It serves as a translation device to make qualifications more readable and understandable across different countries and systems in Europe, and thus promote lifelong and life-wide learning, and the mobility of European citizens whether for studying or working abroad.” (http://ec.europa.eu/eqf/home_en.htm)

For further info www.ted2.org

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