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Case Study
From the workshop for disabled people to the first labour market


The woman works in the administration of a medical supply store.

Disability and functional limitation of the employee:

The woman is dependent on the use of a wheelchair due to paraplegia. Due to her disability, her mobility and grasping range are limited. The degree of disability (GdB) is 100.

Training and job:

The woman was trained by the employer as an administrative office worker.

Transition workshop for disabled people - general labour market:
The woman was unemployed for a long time. Since it seemed hopeless to her to find a suitable job in her hometown, she decided to look for a job nationwide. In a conversation with the rehabilitation advisor of the employment agency, she was made attentive to a job in a workshop for handicapped people (WfbM), which was located two hours by car from her hometown. In connection with this, she was offered a place in a residential home for assisted living. Until then she had lived in her parents' housekeeping. The place in the home would also provide the necessary and accustomed support in everyday life and housekeeping in the event of a move to the other city. Due to these good prerequisites, the woman's job decision was easy and the WfbM also expressed interest. After completing the necessary formalities, the woman was able to start her job at the WfbM and move into the residential home.

In the WfbM, after the qualification in the vocational training area, she was first employed in the in-house bookshop. There she took care of delivery notes and outgoing invoices. In addition, she completed an English course at the local adult education centre (VHS) to underline her goal to be fit for the first labour market. Her newly acquired foreign language skills also qualified her for the WfbM's telephone switchboard, which she now looked after full-time. In the meantime, the woman continued to write applications for the primary labour market, but only received rejections.

One of the clients of the WfbM was a local medical supply store. Due to her work, the woman had already had frequent contact with the owner of the medical supply store and had also told him privately about her plans to find a job on the primary labour market. Until then, a wheelchair user with multiple disabilities had been employed in the medical supply store, who was responsible for order management, repair acceptance and telephone service. He had quit his job for private reasons, so that the position became vacant. The owner of the medical supply store then approached the woman and offered to fill the vacant position on a trial basis. As he had already spoken to the managing director of the WfbM beforehand, who had signalled his support for the change, the woman was able to start an internship at the medical supply store immediately.

Her predecessor introduced her to her new activities step by step. Gradually, her working hours were extended to full days. Since the woman and also the owner of the medical supply store were satisfied with her work, she was hired on a permanent basis. In the meantime she has become so competent and experienced that she also stands in for her boss when he is out of the office. For her, this is, by her own admission, the greatest incentive.

Working environment:

For her daily commute to work and to run errands, the woman was provided with an electric vehicle with a cabin (to protect her from the weather), into which she can roll with her wheelchair via the open tailgate and lowered ramp. The maximum speed of the electric vehicle is 6 km/h. It can be driven on the road without a driving licence, registration or MOT.

Assistive products used:

Further Information

The electrically powered vehicle was funded by the employment agency.

ICF Items

Reference Number:


Last Update: 27 Oct 2009