The aim of the "TRAINING FOR LIFE" project is to enable young disabled persons to enter the athletic labour market. The project is a response to the growing number of athletic initiatives, which take place at a European and International level, to promote sports (especially Wheelchair Basketball) among disabled persons. These initiatives are not accompanied by adequate training curricula for coaches and trainers for such sports, even though it should be evident that there is a potential -especially for disabled persons, who are excluded from the athletic market- to find employment in such activities.

The project will develop a pilot application on the training of disabled persons who wish to become Wheelchair Basketball trainers. Wheelchair basketball is chosen because it is becoming more and more popular at a European level. At the moment 26 European nations are members of IWBF (International Wheelchair Basketball Federation). Wheelchair basketball plays an important role in the rehabilitation of persons with disabilities and provides both physical and psychological benefits to those who take part. Additionally, the partnership will use the experience gained during the project, to develop a model curriculum for the training of disabled persons, who wish to enter the athletic market as coaches.

The partnership includes three European training organizations for disabled young persons (E...... from Greece, CEJAC from Spain, C.A.F.A. FORMATION from France), Ellinogermaniki Agogi (a leading educational organization, which organising athletic activities for disabled persons), the University of Koeln (a leading academic institution in athletic matters), the University of Lubjiana, the "Oldam Owls" (a well-known team of disabled Wheelchair basketball athletes) and EPINOIA S.A. (a sowftware development company with expertise in electronic publications and web-based tools). The partnership is composed in such a way, as to aggregate expertise in four areas:

  1. Expertise in the training of disabled persons
  2. Expertise in athletic matters
  3. Expertise in modern technologies
  4. Expertise in practical aspects of coaching

The project will be implemented in 4 phases.

  • During the first phase, Ellinogermaniki Agogi will design the training material under the supervision and guidance of the University of Koeln and University of Lubjana. The material will be published both conventionally and electonically on the Web.
  • In the second phase, training seminars (including both theory and practise) will be held in Greece, Spain and France, while the "Oldam Owls" will follow up the development of the program via open distance training.
  • In the third phase the project gets evaluated and redesigned by the partnership.
  • In the fourth and final phase, the project gets disseminated to institutions and training centres all over Europe.

In summary, the outcomes of the project will include

a) a state of the art Web site that will include the whole material along with Web enabled multimedia, interactive video, databases of Wheelchair basketball resources, personal perspectives etc.
b) a conventional handbook, that will be used by the trainees,
c) a guide of good practice for institutions who intend to introduce the products' outcomes into their regular training activities
d) a DVD with practical lessons, which will make use of the medium's storage capabilities to provide interactive movies, exercises etc.

The beneficiaries of the project will be primarily young disabled persons, who are up to now excluded from a market with a big growth potential. Nevertheless, even persons without disabilities will be able to access and benefit from the whole range of materials produced.

The project is expected to have a significant impact, especially on the training programs of institutions that specialize in the initial training and rehabilitation of young disabled persons. It will provide a complete and evaluated "package" to every such European institution that has started to understand one major principle that underlies this project: Athletics is not merely a means of recreation for disabled persons, but furthermore a promising field for their professional employment.