Portuguese retailer Jerónimo Martins Group and the University of Aveiro have agreed to implement an 'Individual Multidisciplinary Studies Programme'.
The degree course focuses on the full inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDDs) in academia and the job market.
Individual Multidisciplinary Studies Programme
The degree opens in October 2021 and includes both an educational and professional component and on-the-job training.
Through the two-year programme, students with IDDs who would not have access to higher education after completing compulsory education will be given the opportunity to attend the course taught at the University of Aveiro in Portugal.
Two internships at the Jerónimo Martins Group in a real working environment at the end of each year cover the practical learning on the course.
During the educational component of the course, students will study side-by-side with their university peers in 'regular' classes.
Students will keep in contact with a coordinator-tutor and have access to the services and assistance provided by the university.
Over and above the internships, the Jerónimo Martins will support the project by financing the coordinator-tutor and the student's tuition fees, collaborating for the application and selection process, and follow-up and monitoring.
Jerónimo Martins' 'Incluir' Programme
Since 2015, the retailer has implemented its Incluir (Include) programme, which is aimed at giving disadvantaged people access to the job market.
Speaking on the project, Pedro Soares dos Santos, chairman and CEO, Jerónimo Martins Group, said, "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, thanked their partners, stating that the project helps the university to "ensure access to employment, personal development and professional integration," for its students.