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Employers urged to tackle low recruitment of people with disabilities

New online training programme helps to support inclusive work practices

“Approaching employment through the lens of inclusion and diversity not only benefits persons with disabilities but also benefits employers,” says Adam Harris from AsIAm. Photograph: iStock/Getty Images

“Approaching employment through the lens of inclusion and diversity not only benefits persons with disabilities but also benefits employers,” says Adam Harris from AsIAm. Photograph: iStock/Getty Images

 

Four partner organisations have created an online training programme to support employers in becoming “disability confident”. The organisations, Not So Different, Walk, Rehab Group and AsIAm, launched the programme to help develop inclusive recruitment, retention and promotion practices for people with disabilities. It is funded by the National Disability Authority.

A number of leading employers in the public and private sectors, including Mr Price, Accenture, Quality and Qualifications Ireland, Northside Partnership, the Public Appointments Service and City of Dublin Education and Training Board, have successfully piloted the new programme.

The campaign groups are appealing to more employers to tap into this hidden, diverse pool of talent which represents more than 13 per cent of the population.

Speaking on behalf of the four partners, Adam Harris of AsIAm says: “Persons with disabilities have a broad range of interests, qualifications and skills, however, too often these assets are lost to workplaces due to a lack of confidence, or even fear, around inclusive employment.

“The consequences of this are stark with the community 2½ times more likely to be unemployed than the rest of the population. This is despite a range of supports, from Government and disability organisations, open to businesses to access this talent pipeline and the relatively small, reasonable accommodations required to succeed.

“Given the right information and guidance, employers can begin their journey towards inclusive employment practices in recruitment, on boarding, in-work support and career progression. Approaching employment through the lens of inclusion and diversity not only benefits persons with disabilities but also benefits employers.”

Disability confidence

The training programme aims to support employers to develop “disability confidence”. Over five modules, employers will access a broad range of practical information and strategies. Topics explored include how to reach people with disabilities in recruitment campaigns, how to run inclusive and equitable interview processes, how to discuss disability with a candidate or employee and how small adjustments to the workplace environment can make a difference for an employee with a disability.

The programme fulfils an action under the 2015-2024 comprehensive employment strategy for people with disabilities. It aims to take a rights-based approach to employment in accordance with Ireland’s obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Minister of State for Disability Anne Rabbitte says: “This training offers a rich insight into the barriers too often experienced by people with disabilities in accessing work and the reasonable accommodations which can make all the difference.”

She says inclusive employment is not about charity “but benefits both candidate and workplace, in matching the right skills to the right roles. International Day of Persons with Disabilities is an opportunity for us all to learn about how we can build a more inclusive society.”