The Eragintza Foundation works to integrate people with mental illness into the labour market normally

Of the 17 SDGs that make up Agenda 2030 there are several which include specific references to people with disabilities or with diverse abilities. Integrating those who have some type of disability, and achieving full equality of rights is one of the challenges we must face in a cross-disciplinary manner. All rights and the same opportunities for all people. The challenge of equal opportunities for people with disabilities is particularly evident in the labour market.

“I enjoy my work very much and the environment with my colleagues”, points out Sergio Burgueño, a native of Bilbao who loves design and 3D printing, who has a mental illness, and joined the team at the Owasys company 6 months ago.

“Diversity always contributes something” explains Javier Gurtubay, CEO of the OWASYS company with a workforce of 20 people, who decided to take on a person with disability 6 months ago. “We thought it would be a good for him to be in the team and for the company, and he can do the work perfectly well”, he explains. “Diversity always contributes something. All of the people who work at the company think of ourselves as a more open-minded business”, he underlines while asserting he wants to keep incorporating more people with diverse abilities into the team.

Throughout the selection and contracting process, Owasys has received the support of the Eragintza Foundation, a non-profit organisation, whose aim is to achieve the socio-occupational inclusion of people with mental illness. An organisation which has a direct impact on Sustainable Development Goal number 8: Decent work and economic growth.

Sergio Burgueño started to become interested in the 3D printing world, on a visit to the BEC where he learnt about this type of work: “I started to study… and it was difficult at first and then I got the knack of it and ended up with very good marks. I can design and 3D print anything you can imagine, even in colour”, he explains. 

In addition to his work in Owasys, he designs and makes his own products at home.

“The result is excellent. His attitude and skills are very good and he has integrated perfectly, he tells us while pointing out that “he even contributes beyond his own work”.

The case of Sergio and the Owasys company is a good example of integration, and a reference on which other companies should look at to continue advancing.

According to the Observatory disability and labour market data, in 2017 there are more than 80,000 people with disabilities in the Basque Country aged from 16 to 64. Integrating those people into the labour market, enabling them to have the opportunity to develop their life projects with equal opportunities is a challenge we must all address as a society.