Diversity in Career Trajectories

    Working with a disability

    Publication date: 01 January 2014

    This study is oriented towards a specific target group: people who acquire a disability during their working life.


    After acquiring a chronic physical condition, returning to and keeping your job are far from guaranteed, especially when disabilities are persistent and serious work-relevant. The goal of this study is to assess the diversity of career trajectories, based on experiential knowledge, to research what works and what doesn't work, and to use results to make recommendations for healthcare practice. For this purpose, a cross-disability perspective is adopted. This means that the researchers aim to identify the overarching themes that are relevant to life and work with a disability. The project will contribute in different ways to the education of future vocational education professionals and to practiced care.

    In order to shape a cross-disability perspective, the chosen research method is a narrative approach, using a qualitative form of data collection, the life story method. In the first phase, students are trained and supervised to talk about the life-cycles and careers of around 20-25 people. These people have acquired a physical disability during their career, are partially occupationally disabled and have at least five years of experiential expertise in living with a disability. In the second phase, focus groups work together with the interviewees to convert the results into practice recommendations. The entire project was carried out in collaboration with students of Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and in conjunction with the professional field in Rotterdam.