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Jerónimo Martins and the University of Aveiro sign agreement for inclusion in academia and the job market

The Jerónimo Martins Group and the University of Aveiro today signed an agreement for implementation of the “Individual Multidisciplinary Studies Programme” degree course, an innovative project focused on the full inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) in academia and the job market. The programme will open in October 2021 and includes both an educational and professional component, with on-the-job training.

Through this two-year programme, students with IDDs who would not have access to higher education after complementing compulsory education following the traditional route will be given the opportunity to attend the course taught at the University of Aveiro. It includes two internships at the Jerónimo Martins Group in a real working environment: one following the first academic year and another after completing the programme, at the end of the second academic year. During the educational component of the course, students will study side-by-side with their university peers in regular classes. They will be monitored by a coordinator-tutor and have access to the services and assistance provided by the University of Aveiro to all its students, from an inclusive and emancipatory perspective, based on the increased autonomy of the students and adapted to the skills and needs of each person. It is, thus, a doubly inclusive programme: in the university and in the job market.

The Jerónimo Martins Group lends it support in the form of financing the coordinator-tutor and the students’ tuition fees, collaborating in the students' application and selection, and in their follow-up and monitoring, and offering two distinct internships. The Group once again joins forces with the University of Aveiro in a trailblazing project to bridge the gap between universities and the business environment, focusing this time on inclusion.

For Pedro Soares dos Santos, Chairman and CEO of the Jerónimo Martins Group, “businesses are increasingly called upon to be accountable to society by making a positive contribution and being part of the solution, particularly with regard to the challenge of including those who are more vulnerable in the job market and working life”.

Paulo Jorge Ferreira, Dean of the University of Aveiro, believes that “a truly inclusive university provides all its students access to knowledge and to employment. The University of Aveiro ensures that students with special needs have access to knowledge, adapting its study conditions and academic experience. This collaboration with the Jerónimo Martins Group allows us to go further and ensure access to employment, personal development and professional integration. We are delighted to have formalised this pioneering collaboration in Portugal, towards a more inclusive and cohesive society”.

The Group has implemented its Incluir (“Include”) programme in 2015, aimed at giving disadvantaged people access to the job market – including disabled people –, of which this partnership is a part.