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Information on Örvi Vocational Rehabilitation Center

The purpose and role of Örvi

Acting upon the basic ideology expressed by the laws concerning persons with disabilities, that everyone should have the opportunity of pursuing suitable daily occupations, the former Regional Office for the Affairs of the Handicapped in Reykjanes put together a chain of services, where emphasis was placed on coordination and variety in occupational services for persons with disabilities.

The Örvi Vocational Rehabilitation Center is an important link in this service chain. At Örvi, individuals are offered a period of vocational habilitation and possibly, depending on an assessment, a period of vocational training, both of which aim at making the individual more capable of successfully carrying out work in the general labour force.

Experience shows that vocational training at Örvi increases substantially the chances that those entering employment at the conclusion of the training will find satisfaction in their work and will be able to keep their jobs permanently.

Individual objectives

  • to provide persons with disabilities with training for work in the general labour force
  • to teach proper working techniques and good working practices, increase work stamina and develop social skills
  • to provide vocational training which increases the possibility for integration into society on a mutual basis
  • to carry out vocational habilitation aimed at assessing the capabilities of the individual to pursue work and other activities
  • to offer sufficient and varied tasks, selected primarily for their training value
  • to simulate as well as possible common (i.e. expected) conditions in the workplace and demands made in the general labour force
  • to provide customers good, flexible service
  • to ensure that operations at Örvi are at all times closely connected with industry and that the total environment and working conditions are similar to the general situation.

Services for persons with disabilities at Örvi

In its operations, Örvi attempts to simulate workplace conditions in the general labour market. It is thus important to always have a sufficient and realistic supply of assignments, obtained from private businesses. Through the years Örvi has built up a list of steady customers. Sufficient work, varied in nature, with value for training purposes, is the foundation upon which vocational habilitation and training at Örvi is based.

Vocational habilitation

Everyone entering Örvi begins with an four to eight week vocational habilitation programme. Its aim is to assess the overall possibilities of the individual to pursue work and other activities. This assessment includes, for instance, a description of the social skills of the individual concerned, his or her knowledge, working ability and motivation.

In addition to providing an overall assessment of the capacity of the individual for work and other activities, the aims of vocational habilitation (and training) are as follows:

  • to assist the individual to build up self-confidence and self- assurance and become self-sufficient
  • to assist the individual to realise the possibilities which are open to him or her and to accept them
  • to make it easier for the individual to make a decision on the question of occupation.

At the end of the vocational habilitation period a written result is delivered and a decision taken as to continuation. If the conclusion of the vocational habilitation programme is that the individual concerned is considered capable of proceeding into the general labour force, he/she is encouraged to apply at the Supported Employment Division/Atvinna með stuðningi at the Directorate of Labour (see application form, NB this form is also used to apply for Örvi). The division will then begin a search for employment in consultation with the individual concerned. While the search for employment is in progress the individual is given the option of continuing at Örvi and beginning a programme of effective vocational training. Should the conclusion suggest that the individual is not capable of proceeding into the general labour force and thereby further training at Örvi does not suit the individual, he/she is encouraged to apply for a different service with the assistance of the social services in their local community.

Vocational training

Vocational training starts after the vocational habilitation period if the conclusion is that the individual is considered capable of proceeding into the general labour force. The main emphasis in vocational training at Örvi is on teaching proper working techniques and good working practices, increasing work stamina and developing social skills. Training follows an individually designed schedule. The length of the vocational training period is determined by the needs of each individual. As a general rule, however, vocational training lasts for a maximum of 18 months.

During the period of vocational training, regular interviews are held with the individuals as part of the assessment programme. The interviews are intended to evaluate progress, focus on various aspects of training and contribute to setting the final goals. These goals are defined and written down for each single individual, together with instructions for training, and his or her progress towards the goals is evaluated regularly.

At Örvi we make an effort to build up and promote support for the individual outside the workplace as well as on the job. This is achieved through close cooperation between his/her family members, contact persons, social workers and other relevant personnel.

In addition to the practical skills which workers acquire through various assignments, training at Örvi makes demands on their interpersonal relations and social skills. This social experience is no less important than the practical aspects. 

Individuals at Örvi are responsible for the cafeteria on a weekly basis, for preparing coffee breaks and the clean-up afterwards. They also take daily turns at cleaning the toilets and locker room. Here the emphasis is placed on training workers in hygiene and general neatness and cleanliness.

Follow-up after vocational training

After the individual concludes vocational training at Örvi and begins work in the general labour force, the Supported Employment Division/Atvinna með stuðningi (AMS) with the participation of the staff at Örvi continue to provide him/her with support and guidance during the first months in a new job. During the first three months the individual keeps his/her position at Örvi, so that he/she has the option of returning should anything go amiss in the new job. The follow-up of AMS consists, on the one hand, of providing support for the individual and, on the other hand, of increasing understanding and tolerance amongst other workers at the new workplace. This is carried out through regular visits and information and contact with the staff. For those entering the general labour force, the follow-up is a very important part of success.  Follow-up includes creating positive conditions for the individual in a new workplace, with regard to both the job itself and social integration. It can be the decisive factor in determining how well a person with disabilities will be able to continue his/her employment in the general labour force. AMS provides guidance for as long as necessary.

Örvi's services for private business and other clients

Plastic production

Örvi produces various sorts of plastic containers, such as inlays in boxes of chocolates, plastic boxes, lids and trays for foodstuffs, confectionery, notions, etc.

A variety of plastic products, such as boxes and lids, can be produced on short notice, according to the needs of individual customers.

Packing and assembly services

Comprehensive packing and assembly services are offered for firms and institutions. Machines handle on-card packaging, in addition to which various materials, such as periodicals and various small products, are packed by hand.

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