Ability Focus is Ireland's leading provider of disability awareness training, delivering training to many of Ireland's best-known public, semi-state and private sector organisations through our high impact and contemporary live online programmes. In March 2022 Ability Focus was honoured to be selected as An Post's disability awareness training partner for 2022 and 2023.
The aim of this company-wide initiative from An Post was to offer disability awareness training to colleagues across all sectors and all levels of the business with a view to creating a workplace where everyone feels accepted, supported and valued.
Stephen Kelly is the Managing Director of Ability Focus and was the main point of contact throughout 2022 and into 2023 for delivery of disability awareness training. Stephen liaised with Heather Lowry, Head of Talent, Diversity & Organisational Development at An Post, developing a number of bespoke disability awareness training programmes to ensure targeted and effective training was delivered to over 1,000 An Post staff.
"It was clear to me from the very first conversation with Heather Lowry in spring 2022 that this disability awareness initiative was going to be delivered with purpose and a genuine commitment to driving disability inclusion across the business" Stephen stated, speaking on completion of the final training programme in spring 2023.
"The purpose of An Post is to act for the common good, and to improve the quality of life in Ireland, now and for generations to come. Because we live in an ever-changing society, priorities of businesses change and evolve with the times, and it is amazing to see that An Post recognise the value of creating a disability inclusive workplace"
Training was rolled out with the full support of the unions and was a top priority of the An Post Diversity & Inclusion Strategy for 20223/2023. Programmes were delivered in durations ranging from 1-hour to 3.5-hours and included Live Online Group Training as well as Live Online Webinar Training.
"I really enjoyed training delivery to staff at An Post over the past year as they were such a hugely engaged group. Every programme was so interactive with plenty of questions, answers and comments coming in from colleagues all across the country. It really shows the benefit of Live Online Disability Awareness Training, that a programme can be delivered to An Post staff tuning in from Kerry, Donegal and Dublin in the one sitting, without colleagues having to leave the workplace" Stephen said.
As training delivery moved towards the latter part of 2022, Diversity & Inclusion Manager at An Post, Danielle Bouchier, took the lead in working alongside Stephen to ensure continuation of programme delivery. Due to the success of the bespoke disability awareness training programmes, Danielle and Heather felt the next important step in ensuring a fully inclusive workplace was for HR, Occupational Health, and managers at all levels of the business to complete Reasonable Accommodation Training. This training was to complement An Post's new Reasonable Accommodation Policy & refreshed Disability Inclusion Policy.
The purpose of Reasonable Accommodation Training is to ensure managers follow best practice procedures when supporting colleagues with a disability while working at An Post. This training was rolled out in spring 2023 and each programme had excellent attendance numbers with huge levels of engagement from managers across the business.
Both An Post and Ability Focus were delighted with the reception both disability awareness and reasonable accommodation training programmes received. Finally, Disability Inclusive Recruitment Training was also offered to colleagues with a view to ensuring an equitable recruitment process at An Post.
According to Danielle "Ability Focus have played a pivotal role in advancing An Post's Disability Inclusion agenda. From March 2022 to March 2023, Stephen designed and delivered bespoke Disability Awareness, Reasonable Accommodation, and Inclusive Recruitment training to over 1,000 An Post employees across our 3 business units.
The feedback has been incredibly positive thanks to the engaging & memorable content delivered by Stephen. An Post colleagues have benefitted greatly, and are better equipped to provide support to disabled people in work and in our communities. Thank you so much Stephen & team at Ability Focus!"
The team at Ability Focus are very proud to have delivered Disability Awareness, Reasonable Accommodation, and Inclusive Recruitment training to more than 1 in every 10 colleagues at An Post, a business with a national workforce of over 9,500 people.
"An Post was such an incredibly forward thinking and enjoyable organisation to work with and we look forward to future projects. I'm quite sure that there has never been an organisation in Ireland to roll out delivery of instructor led disability awareness training to over 1,000 staff in less than one year. The fact that training was delivered through a live online format meant participants could engage the trainer, ask questions, challenge assumptions and listen to a qualified trainer with experience in this area. I think that was the key to the success of this initiative." Stephen noted.
"The decision, in particular, to roll out Reasonable Accommodation Training to managers in spring 2023 really demonstrates that An Post are committed in their efforts to make sure all colleagues are given every opportunity to bring their full selves to work. It was a genuine pleasure to work with Heather, Danielle and the team at An Post over the last year".
If you are considering Disability Awareness Training for your organisation, please get in touch with Ability Focus by calling (01) 699 1150 or email email@example.com and we will be happy to discuss a customised programme to suit your disability training needs.
Ability Focus is the leading provider of disability awareness training in Ireland. Our training programmes are CPD accredited, IITD Endorsed and delivered by qualified trainers with over seventeen years' experience working in disability inclusion.