Barcelona, April 22, 2013. Specialisterne Founder Thorkil Sonne announced Monday that Specialisterne will launch operations in Spain this summer 2013. The announcement came at the “Social Innovation for Companies” event in Barcelona on Monday. “I’m delighted to announce that we will be replicating the Specialisterne model in Spain. We believe we have a wonderful opportunity here to enable jobs for people with autism and similar challenges in the Spanish labor market, and I look forward to our collaboration.”
Organized by the City Council of Barcelona, local organization UpSocial and Obra Social “la Caixa”, and attended by over 300 people, with representatives from the social, public and private sector, the goal of the event was to showcase innovations from around the world that have been successful in improving the employment and employability of persons with disabilities. Specialisterne was one of five innovations that received special commendation, along with My Life in the UK, Shekulo Tov in Israel, Discovering Hands in Germany and Asociación Civil Andar in Argentina.
Ramon Bernat, President of Fundación Planeta Imaginario (a private foundation devoted to early intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder) is already working on creating the local Specialisterne replica. “Right now, we are working on hiring our initial staff and setting up office space,” says Bernat. “Our objective is to start operations before the summer. We aim to complete the first round of training before the end of the year, so that Specialisterne Spain consultants can already start working for clients in the public and private sectors in Q1 2014.”
Fundación Planeta Imaginario focuses on helping children with ASD from an early age. “After focusing on children for 15 years, we now want to take things a step further, and start supporting them in their adult working lives too,” says Bernat. “We hope that this will give us a deeper understanding of the challenges people with ASD face throughout their lives; from birth and through to adulthood. We are proud to partner with Specialisterne and believe that there is tremendous potential in Spain for this model.”
Steen Thygesen, CEO Specialisterne Foundation (former Specialist People Foundation) welcomed the Spanish to the ever-increasing Specialisterne global community. “Once again, we have shown how the Specialisterne model is gaining momentum throughout the world. Spain is an important market for us, both locally and globally,” said Thygesen.” It has the potential to leverage our entry to the Latin American market, where the potential for growth is massive.”
The Spanish operation will focus on consulting on IT tasks such as data management and testing but will broaden over time to include additional services.
For more information on the upcoming Spanish operations, you can send an email to the team here.