Staff Matters! EASPD Conference 3-4 October 2019

Welcome to Helsinki in October! This conference aims to explore current and future dynamics in social care workforce.

How social care and support workforce can enable human rights in their daily work? What kind of competences, skills and qualifications are needed to provide quality support to persons with disabilities? How to develop leadership skills to manage your services and human resources in an effective way? How to create a community culture that enables great employee experiences that in turn lead to great user experiences?

The conference will focus on the topics of recruitment, retention and training of social care & support workforce in the context of the growing demand for service delivery in line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). Conference participants will discuss and share best practices on how to manage human resources to facilitate the implementation of the UN CRPD.

In this conference we explore interesting points of view on these and many other workforce related topics from Finnish and European experts. The conference languages are English and Finnish.

The conference is organized in cooperation with EASPD, KVPS and a group of dedicated Finnish partners.

Conference prices:
EASPD members 260 €
Non-EASPD members 320 €
Participants from low GDP countries* 110 €

Please note that the early bird -prices were only available until August 1st.

*Albania, Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Hungary, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Turkey and Ukraine.

The conference fee covers your  participation at the two-days long conference (including coffee breaks & lunch) and at the gala dinner taking place on the 3rd of October. The conference will be held in Helsinki, Finland, 3-4 October 2019. It takes place in Radisson Blu Seaside, Ruoholahdenranta 3, 00180 Helsinki.

Register now here!

Event info

  • After the official final registration date (13.9.), registrations may be accepted if there is room for the event. Please note, however, that no cancellation is possible anymore.
  • Participants are responsible for their travel and accommodation arrangements and travel expenses. Ask recommendations or help on this, please contact

Cancellation Policy

  • Free cancellation can be made before the last official registration date on the 13th of September 2019.
  • Any subsequent cancellations will be subject to 50% of the conference fee.
  • If a person is prevented from coming to the event due to illness or force majeure, it's possible to replace the participant by another person from your organisation. However, this must be communicated in writing in advance to the organizer of the event ( In this case, we do not charge a cancellation fee.


We have made some pre-reservation for the following accommodation possibilities:

Myö Hostel
Myö Hostel is a brand new boutique-hostel just a few kilometres from the center of Helsinki, in the charming Ruskeasuo district. Although our location is central and well connected, they are surrounded by a lush Finnish forest and a beautiful residential area. They offer jobs for people with disabilities and  strive to make the working world more inclusive for everyone.
Normal price is 93€ / single room / night, 105€ / double room per person / night.
You get a -10% discount from the price by using code Conference2019 and booking your room until 31st of August 2019.
More information:

Hotel AVA
Hotel AVA is located in the Helsinki district of Vallila, approximately 3 km from the city center. Hotel Ava has excellent connections to Helsinki-Vantaa International Airport, Pasila railway station, and the city center. Prices: 79,00€ / single room, standard / night, 89,00EUR / single room, studio-apartment / night. The breakfast is 9,80€ / per person / night. If you book your room until 4th of September, use code Service Foundation for People with an Intellectual Disability
More information:

Radisson Blu Seaside
Radisson Blu Seaside is our conference hotel. We have a quota for rooms quaranteed to be available with the following prices: 140€ / single room / night, 160€ / double room / per person / night until the August 20th. If you book your room from the hotel website until 20th of August, use the code BKVPS (choose Promotional code as option). Please note that the same hotel rooms might be available on other websites at a lower/higher rate (, etc.).
More information on the hotel:

EASPD - European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities.
#staffmatters #EASPD

For more information, please contact:

Jeff Van Hecke, EASPD, tel.+32 2 233  77 20,
Petra Rantamäki, KVPS, tel. +358 207 713 528,

This conference has received financial support from the European Union Programme for Employment and Social Innovation “EaSI” (2014-2020)



DAY 1: October 3rd

8.30-9.00 Registrations

Welcome address
- Kirsi Konola, Vice-President, EASPD
- James Crowe, President, EASPD

Introductory remarks and housekeeping announcements
- Petra Rantamäki (the conference hostess)


Opening address
-Katarina Ivanković-Knežević, European Commission

Future of Work in Social Care
- Jos de Blok, founder and CEO, Buurtzorg

10.30-11.00 Coffee Break
11.00-12.30 Panel session 1: European Disability Workforce: Trends and Insights

Panel will discuss 4 topics: labour mobility, migration, digitalisation, new models of employment/new types of jobs, austerity measures

Moderation and introduction by James Churchill, Director, Social Care Training Ltd (UK) & Chair of EASPD Interest Group on Workforce Development and Human Resources
- Shereen Hussein, Professor of Care and Health Policy and Evaluation and Associate Director, University of Kent
- Teppo Kröger, Professor of Social and Public Policy, University of Jyväskylä
- Daphne Ahrendt, Research Manager, Eurofound
- Phillip Ullmann, Chief Energiser, Cordant Group

12.30-13.30 Lunch
13.30-14.15 Staff Matters! Future of the workforce
- Johanna Pystynen, Director, People Operations at Vincit Oy (Finland)
Social Dialogue perspective on the future of workforce
- Silja Paavola, Finnish Union of Practical Nurses SuPer
- Päivi Niemi-Laine, The Trade Union for the Public and Welfare Sectors JHL
14.15-15:00 Panel session 2: Creating trust in services – ensuring human rights
Moderation and introduction by Jyrki Pinomaa, President, Inclusion Europe & Inclusion Finland
- Diana Chiriacescu, Director of the Federation of Non-Governmental Organizations for Social Services (Romania)
- Olivier Ishimwe, Social care worker, De Lork (Belgium)
- Maarten De Gryse and Steven Beckx, Acerta
15:00-16:00 Parallel workshops, Session 1: Staff Learning and Development – Human rights, Skills and Competences

1. Untold stories: Lessons for workforce sustainability, recruitment and retention / Sandra Fleming and Carmel Doyle, Trinity College Dublin, Nina Leppäkangas, Rinnekoti

2. Role of staff in implementing the UN CRPD and Certification Scheme for social care personnel / Fabrizio Fea, Associazione Scuola Viva onlus; Virginios Voudouris, TUV HELLAS; Panagiotis Korfoxyliotis, To Ergastiri

3. Developing specialist profiles in social care: housing, healthcare and supported decision making / Ferran Blanco and Josep Maria Solé Chavero, Fundacio Tutelar; Hannele Turunen, University of Eastern Finland; Maarit Aalto, ASPA

4. Using entry level linked workforce development tools for greatest impact on the greatest number / James Churchill, SCT; Sandra Lima, EASPD

5. Developing personnel’s competences and evaluating self-determination / Johanna Pystynen, Vincit ; Mona Jaari and Heidi Hautala, KVPS

6. Volunteering: workforce or engaging with society? / Antonio Garcia Sabater, Fundació Espurna

16:00-16.30 Coffee Break
16.30-17.30 Parallel workshops, Session 2: Staff Learning and Development, Knowledge, Skills and Competences

1. Employment: Implementation of the UN CRPD in employment of persons with disabilities: Supported employment and job coaching / Kenneth Cremona Caruana, FSWS; Galambos Katalin & Katalin Monostori, Equal Chances Foundation

2. Inclusive Education: Effective Inclusion through adapted Teacher Training / Marleen Clissen and Annemie Jennes, Katholiek Onderwijs; Michael Longhino, Chance B

3. Housing: Competence of professionals in housing and support for persons with disabilities / Maarit Aalto, ASPA; Susanna Rieppo, Laura Päiväpuro and Susanna Hintsala, FAIDD

4. Migration: Training needs of frontline staff working with migrants with disabilities and mental health issues / Federica Rosato, SOLIDAR; Kadar Gelle and Liban Ismail, Monik ry

5. Inclusive Living: Role of staff in enabling persons with profound intellectual and multiple disabilities to realise their potential in the society: an ethnographical study of Finnish residential and day services / Sonja Miettinen, Hannu T. Vesala and Sari Mehtälä, Finnish Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

6. Digital Skills: New skills for social care staff / Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf, AIAS Bologna; Sofia Karagouni, Margarita; Saku Salonen, Eteva the joint Municipal Authority

18.00-19.00 Helsinki City Reception, Pohjoisesplanadi 11-13, Helsinki
20.00 Conference dinner at Restaurant Bank

DAY 2: October 4th

9.00-9.15 Welcome and recap of Day 1
- Petra Rantamäki, Partnership Director, KVPS
9.10-9.30 Empathy, leadership and interaction in creating a human-centric work culture
- Katri Saarikivi, Cognitive brain researcher, University of Helsinki

Panel session 3: Role of the leadership in creating human rights-based services and staff commitment
- Wilfried Kainz, Head of Research on Innovative Practices, Essl Foundation (moderator)
- Guus van Beek, Owner, It’s All About Quality Consultancy, Role of staff in Social Services in the development of a quality culture
- Michael Condon, Area Manager, United Response
-Juha Kaakinen, Y-foundation

10.30-11.00 Coffee Break
11.00-12.00 Panel session 4: Social care workforce in the changing world
- Jennifer Lewis Smith, President of COHEHRE (Consortium of Institutes of Higher Education in Health and Rehabilitation in Europe)
- Baptiste Lenfant, Iperia l‘Institut
- Sabin Lobato, Fundación ONCE
- Johanna Mätäsaho, CEO, Bestser Ltd
12.00-13.00 Lunch
13.00-14.00 Parallel workshops, Session 3: Skills and training for service managers

1. Recruitment and Retention in Social Services: Examples from Europe and Scotland / Sylvain Renouvel, Federation of European Social Employers; Alison Christie, CCPS, Katherine Wainwright, Turning Point Scotland

2. Inspirational toolkits: Human Resource Management and Digitalisation / Kelly Vermeulen and Kathleen Van Nuffel, Mediander; Elena Kopcová, TENENET

3. Knowledge Management and Transformation of services and Peer learning / Silvia Muñoz and Berta González, Plena Inclusión España

4. Motivation, career and staff well-being / Rosica Koleva, Inclusive Solutions Skopje, Henry Cipriott, Agenzija Sapport

5. Investing in Training, Improving access to Finance / Thomas Bignal, EASPD

6. From Service User to a valued customer- A new model for community based outcome focused support / Michael Condon and Adam Sutherland, United Response

Policy Panel: Way forward - How to improve the image of the sector and attract quality workforce
- Luk Zelderloo, Secretary General, EASPD (moderator)
- Rodolfo Cattani, Board member of European Disability Forum
- Sylvain Renouvel, Director, Federation of European Social Employers
- Luca Scarpiello, Policy Assistant for Social Care, Tax Justice and digitalization, European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU)

15.15 - Conclusion and closing & afternoon coffee

More information