Successful Year For Disability Employment Fund

01 Sep 2021 | 11.06 am

Successful Year For Disability Employment Fund

Rethink Ireland facilitates 46 people with disabilities

01 Sep 2021 | 11.06 am

Social innovation organisation Rethink Ireland says the first year of its Ability to Work Fund has been a success, with 46 people with disabilities securing a work placement and 117 more receiving workplace training.

The former Social Innovation Fund Ireland administers the €1.5m programme, aimed at empowering people with disabilities to progress into employment. 

The fund helped 77 people with disabilities to participate in an Employability Pathways programme, found work placements for 46 and workplace training for 117 people.

This phase of the fund was open to applicants from November 2019 to February 2020, and successful applicants received cash grants and a place on an Accelerator programme which included bespoke training from experts in the private, non-profit and public sectors.

The fund is supported by State Street Ireland and by two government departments, social protection and rural and community development. It provides €1.5m funding over three years to four not-for-profit organisations – WALK, Employability Pathways, Not So Different, and the UCC Disability Support Service Mentoring Programme — all of which are helping develop the talents and skills of those living with a disability.

Rethink Ireland chief executive Deirdre Mortell said:  “Securing work placements and in-person activity prove vital to create opportunities for people with a disability to gain experience in the workplace, and take the first step towards employment.

“Over the past year, many non-profit organisations were forced to move operations online and opportunities for in-person work experience reduced greatly. Despite the challenges, all awardees involved with the Ability to Work Fund showed high levels of adaptability.

“WALK reported that 20 participants completed work experience placements, of which 50% of these participants avail of support technology to aid their learning and training.”

State Street’s country director Tadhg Young said that the company has put more than €6m into community grants and matching gifts since 2003, with employees volunteering more than 60,000 hours in the same period. 

For full information on the fund and this year’s beneficiaries, see here.

Photo (l-r) Shane Doyle of State Street Foundation; disability activist Paddy Smyth; Shay Nolan of UCC Access Office;  Sheryl McCann of Walk, Deirdre Mortell; and Gavin Kinnear of Walk. (Pc: Marc O’Sullivan)

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