ALL4WELL – Accessible Language Learning for the Wellness Sector
Duration: 01/10/2013 – 30/09/2015
The profession of a masseur has been one of the most prestigious jobs for blind and partially sighted. In some countries, protective laws oblige public and private employers to employ blind masseurs.
Due to the demographic development in Europe, the field of wellness-oriented applications offers more and more possibilities for masseurs and wellness professionals. This is even more true for wellness or reha offers within the tourism sector. In Italy, for example, a significant part of the economy is based on tourism, and there are plenty of thermal structures, beaches, gymnastic structures where blind masseurs could find appropriate and productive occupation. Furthermore, Italy has about 10% of its population consisting of immigrants. Oral communication in different languages turns to be a crucial factor for social integration and for occupation.
Indeed, for the blind masseur verbal interaction plays a significant role in the whole healing process, based on positive personal relationship. Being able to make oneself understood in the patients’ language – or in a common language – increases job opportunities and success on work. Therefore, for those desiring to work in wellness sector there is an obvious demand for broader communicative skills, knowledge of foreign languages and intercultural skills if they want to raise their employment prospects.
However, in the field of training the language skills of blind and visually handicapped students there is a perceptible shortage of suitable training material. Up to now foreign language has been very marginal in a masseur’s curriculum.
Based on the results of the projects ELLVIS and VET4VIP, the new project ALL4WELL will provide a job-oriented English course that will meet the needs for a training masseurs and wellness professionals. The attractive hardware solution of the course provides an easy access to the new contents, thus broadening the possibilities of language teaching to the blind and visually impaired. The job-oriented content that can be put into practice on the spot will not only bring new motivational input to the students, but will also provide those students with tools to improve their versatility and mobility as far as language is concerned – and thus their employment outlooks.
The project partners are well connected in their professional networks. Therefore, the consortium expects a wide distribution of the project’s results. For those institutions that train blind and visually impaired people as masseurs or wellness professionals, we expect the ALL4WELL course to become part of the regular curriculum, thus establishing itself as part of the VET system for blind and visually impaired learners in the long run.