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Reason for the project

  • To provide the evidence base, resource and skills to enable Animal Assisted Therapy to be widely used by each partner learning from the innovative practice of an Italian partner who has extensive experience
  • To provide an opportunity for long term unemployed to become retrained and fill the skills gap as therapy dog trainers.

Aims and objectives

  • To develop a course which enables 20 long term unemployed people in 6 partners countries to retrain as Dog Trainers for dogs used in therapy

Characteristics of the consortium

  • This innovative project was developed in Italy by a cross-sector partnership, pooling knowledge and expertise of key local agencies working with animals and health. A psychologist, dog trainer and veterinary work together to provide therapeutic sessions that help people with varying health and social care needs to develop, progress, improve and recover. E.g. dementia, autism, premature babies, physical disabilities mental ill health.
  • They work together to provide therapeutic activities for different groups and wish to include long term unemployed. The dogs are used to motivate and engage participants who often respond to animals where other interventions have failed.
  • A round table forum in each country will disseminate the innovation to healthcare professionals.
  • This innovation would add value to partners existing work, developing the skills of the healthcare sector whilst promoting a new opportunity for the long term unemployed meeting the needs of a new service E.g. The UK partner is working with people with mental ill health and would explore the way that animals can be used to assist therapies and then involve a group of them in training and handling dogs to use in therapies.

Outcomes

  • Creating a team of people that have experience in Training Dogs for use in Therapeutic Interventions
  • 'Round Table' discussions will bring together those agencies with experience of helping the unemployed to become economically active and help others through animal assisted therapy.
  • The course is designed for use with long unemployed people, combining group work, mentoring and work experience.
  • Reduction in unemployment by providing a new opportunity which impacts upon wellness and promotes recovery.

Impact

  • The project would link to VET systems enabling accreditation (where the system allows it). The project links to European priority (LEO-TraInno-7) aimed at improving the capacity to anticipate and match labour market and skills needs in the EU as set out in the EU's growth and jobs strategy.
  • Ageing populations, new therapies and rising expectations have made the provision of health care much more complex than in the past. Health professionals are being tasked to find innovative solutions. In the UK, Germany and Italy there is emphasis on prevention rather than treatment- .this project would assist this with a new form of therapy which improves health and wellbeing by contact with animals.