The Irish Human Rights & Equality Commission have published their Annual Report for 2019. The report makes for interesting reading when looking at the statistics relating to disability.
Here at Ability Focus, we wholeheartedly welcome the inclusion of disability in the newly restructured 'Department of Children, Disability, Equality and Integration'. This is a most significant step, continuing the upward trend of rights recognition for people with disabilities in Ireland.
While inclusion of people with disabilities in Irish workplaces is obviously the right thing to do, employers, human resource and talent acquisition teams must change this narrative and start taking the view that employment of this untapped talent pool is much more than an exercise in Corporate Social Responsibility.
Since Ability Focus offered our free services through Linkedin, email and other platforms a number of weeks ago, we have been working with several organisations to assist them and their staff members with disabilities with change management during this incredibly difficult time.
There are many barriers faced by people with disabilities when seeking employment. According to the social model of disability, disability is caused by the way society is organised, rather than focusing on someone's impairments/differences, while current employment practices enable most, they certainly disable others.
Ability Focus are delighted to announce the launch of our Remote Disability Awareness Training Programme. Remote or online Disability Awareness training is when the trainer facilitates a training session with a dispersed workforce who are at a number of different locations.
This will all be over, eventually. Life will return to whatever the new normal will be. Those of us tasked with working from home will return to the office. The cafes, restaurants and bars will reopen. The barbers will have queues of young lads outside waiting to get their first 'fade out' in weeks.
The irony of us all having to pull together by staying apart is not lost on the majority of the Irish people. We are a small country that thrives on physical, social and emotional contact. But government instruction and medical advice requests us all to keep a little distance, just for a little while at least.
As Development Manager with North Leinster Citizens Information Service I acted as an Advocacy Case Manager where I was lucky enough to manage a fantastic team. With the assistance of Advocacy Support Workers, these dedicated Officers engaged in complex advocacy for Citizens Information clients.
For over 9 years I worked with EmployAbility Service, Ireland's national employment provider for people with disabilities. In this time, I worked both as Employment Facilitator and Company Coordinator and had the opportunity to work in rural & urban settings with employers from a variety of backgrounds.
Over the course of the coming weeks, I will write a number of brief articles referencing the importance as well as benefits to society of increasing knowledge around greater disability awareness. Disability Awareness Training is a key tool for organisations in increasing their knowledge base around disabilities.
Continuing with the focus on the importance of Disability Awareness training for organisations, The Disability Awareness Support Scheme (DASS) is a scheme whereby private sector employers that provide disability awareness training for staff can apply for a grant which can cover 90% of the cost of the training.
While a good training programme should obviously result in greater overall awareness from business owners, line management, human resource teams and general staff when it comes to engaging disabled people, there are other, more specific benefits which will be looked at here.