Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

  • European Commission
  • Programmes
  • Community initiative on employment and development of human resources - "Employment - HORIZON - (improving the employment prospects of the disabled)", 1994-1999

Previous programme


Programme funding

EUR 513 million

Official Journal Reference

C 180 of 1994-07-01

Legislative Reference

94/C180/08 of 1994-07-01
To promote, with an emphasis on the transnational dimension, measures to improve access to the labour market for disabled people who find themselves excluded from it or those who risk being excluded.


The HORIZON programme is one of four strands incorporated into the Community initiative on employment and the development of human resources; the other three are: "NOW" which focuses on promoting equal employment opportunities for women; "YOUTHSTART" which is targeted at the young unemployed; and "INTEGRA" which is concerned with improving access to the labour market and the employability of vulnerable groups).

Initially, EMPLOYMENT-HORIZON incorporated actions aimed at integrating both disabled people and other disadvantaged groups into the labour market. In May 1996, the Commission decided to focus the HORIZON strand solely on the labour market integration of disabled people. A new strand, known as EMPLOYMENT-INTEGRA, was established to cover other disadvantaged groups, particularly the long-term unemployed, jobless single parents, the homeless, itinerants, gypsies and travellers, prisoners and ex-prisoners, substance abusers, etc.


- Development, in particular through transnational cooperation, of appropriate training, guidance, counselling and employment systems, including:

. Support for the creation or development of tailored advisory services and local development agencies to help create jobs for disabled people,
particularly in the sectors where potential employment growth appears high (Objective 1,2 and 5b and 6 only);
. Adaptation of the work place, in particular through the introduction of new technologies, and the development of conditions for distance work;
. Support for the implementation of flexible training and learning systems such as distance and interactive computer learning;
. Improvement of access to training and work-related services through the adaptation of buildings and transport systems (Objective 1 and 6 only);

- The delivery, in particular through transnational cooperation, of training, including:

. Training for qualifications and skills relevant to the use by disabled people of technologies in the work or training place;
. Training of disabled people, in new skills and qualifications especially for sectors where employment growth appears high and in the areas of RTD and innovative technologies;
. Training of disabled people (functional, psychological and social rehabilitation, pre-training, upgrading of basic skills, retraining) preceded and accompanied by on-going assessment and counselling. This will include inter alia on the job training modules linked to special courses for specific target groups to improve integration into the labour market;
. Training schemes for experts and for human resources personnel in the field of reorganization of work and adaptation of the workplace;
. Training or upgrading of skills and qualifications of advisers, local development agents, trainers, social workers, representatives of the Social Partners and those responsible for personnel in the private sector in order to improve their understanding and awareness of matters concerning the integration of the disabled people into sectors where employment growth appears high;

- Job creation and support, particularly on a transnational basis, for the start-up of enterprise cooperatives and public-private partnerships, including:

. Job creation measures designed to exploit local potential for developing new types of employment based on innovative approaches to work organization, including the introduction of such approaches into enterprises in order to prevent job loss of disabled workers;
. Innovative approaches to reducing the labour costs for employers of groups with lower productivity in the labour market;
. Development of supported employment places and new employment schemes (through, for example, sheltered employment and cooperatives);
. Job creation actions to facilitate integration into the labour market and to offset possible loss of benefits in the transition from a protected environment;
. Support to local employment initiatives including public-private partnerships and involving local communities in particular in sectors where employment intensive growth appears high;

- Information dissemination and awareness actions, including:
. Support for wide dissemination of information on employment and training opportunities in a format accessible to disabled people;
- Actions to raise the awareness of the general public, the Social Partners and education, training and employment services personnel with regard to the employment potential of disabled people, in particular through the publication of codes of good practice;
. Support for information services and support structures such as networks for the dissemination of this information.


The activities under the HORIZON programme are implemented as part of the Community initiative on employment and development of human resources (EMPLOYMENT), 1995-1999.

Actions improving the employment prospects of the disabled and other disadvantaged groups are to be jointly financed by the Member States, the Community and by enterprises and other bodies as appropriate. Where employees of companies take part in the various operations covered by the programme, the enterprise concerned is required to finance an appropriate portion of their participation costs. The programme is applicable to the whole territory of the Union, although particular emphasis is placed on the needs of the less favoured regions. A number of measures, therefore, only apply to priority regions (Objectives 1, 2 and 5b and 6).

The Member States were invited to submit proposals for support under the HORIZON strand of the Employment initiative to the Commission by 1 November 1994. In accordance with the rules covering the Structural Funds, these proposals must include a general appreciation of the situation indicating the objectives to be attained and should include a timetable, criteria and procedures for implementation, monitoring and assessment. The proposals submitted by the Member States are approved by the Commission.

Community assistance to selected proposals under the Employment initiative, is in the form of subsidies funded from a budget of ECU 1.835 billion, of which ECU 513 million is reserved for the implementation of actions under the HORIZON programme. Of the global budget reserved for the implementation of the Employment initiative, ECU 0.9 billion is earmarked for Objective I regions.

The distribution of these resources between the Member States is based on the relative severity of structural problems, including in particular relevant unemployment levels, as well as the quality of the proposals submitted for operational programmes and global grants. To encourage transnational operational programmes, two or more Member States may, on their own initiative, or on the initiative of the Commission, present a single application for financial assistance.

Technical assistance under the programme may include the dissemination of information and other awareness actions, the provision of consultancy and expert services, the creation or development of Community-wide networks to facilitate innovation and transnational cooperation, the development and sharing of databases on training and employment services and other aspects of labour market organization, etc.

Responsibility for implementing actions under the programme is entrusted to a single Monitoring Committee in each Member State. During and at the end of the planning period, the Commission will evaluate, in partnership with the Member States, the results of the programmes submitted. The Commission will use the targets specified by the Member States in their proposals as the main benchmark against which progress is to be assessed. The European Parliament, the Management Committee on the Community initiatives and the national Monitoring Committees are to be fully informed of the results of these evaluations and the action taken in response to them.
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