A New scheme called DCU Ability was introduced during Disability Week with the aim to better equip people with disabilities for the world of work.
The DCU led project, alongside St Michaels House Services, aims to build skills and confidence and improve the employability of people with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 29.
Dr Deirdre Corby, a spokesperson for the project, from the school of Nursing and Human Sciences said: “If people have got a block or a barrier that they are facing trying to find employment we are going to help with that. It is going to be a 12-week programme, where each person will get an individual assessment to see what they need to improve on, in order to give them a better chance at finding a job.”
Young men and women with disabilities are eligible to apply to participate once they meet certain criteria. These include being a recipient of the disability or invalidity pension, in receipt of illness benefit for more than three months and attend DCU’s Disability & Learning Support Service or St Michael’s House Services.
These could include both graduates of DCU or undergraduates who are going to be looking for employment in the near future. Alongside this scheme being introduced across all three campuses in DCU, they are hoping to offer this initiative nationally. This means young people may also be referred to the project by other organisations that support young people with disabilities.
Anne O’ Connor, the Head of Disability and Learning support services in DCU welcomed the idea and stated she thinks “it is a wonderful initiative and is key to ensuring our graduates are supported to ensure they get the most out of their qualification here in DCU.”
Catherine Gallagher, a final year student in DCU who has scoliosis said she welcomes “the news of this new programme.”
“I am happy to hear that this is also more of a ‘person-centred’ approach. Employment for people with disabilities is one of the biggest challenges at the moment. We talk a lot now about the rate of unemployment overall going down, which is great. However we don’t talk about unemployment for people with disabilities,” she continued.
The project was launched during Diversity week in DCU, which took place December 3rd- 7th . Diversity week is a dedicated week where different events are held to celebrate the mix of backgrounds and cultures of the students in the university.
Image Credit: Cáit Caden.