The Employment Scheme provides support to over a thousand individuals with disabilities

More than 1,000 people with disabilities were supported on the pathway to employment through the Ability to Work Fund over the past three years.

The scheme is a €1.5m fund created by Rethink Ireland in partnership with State Street and the Government to open pathways to employment by investing in organisations that provide training, upskilling and education.

The four organisations supported through the fund were Cork University Foundation’s Disability Support Service Mentoring Programme; Not So Different – a group supporting neuro-diverse students to develop their creative skills; Dublin Simon Community for people with a disability experiencing homelessness; and Walkinstown Association for People with an Intellectual Disability’s Creating Employment Pathways Through Technology Project.

Since the launch of the fund in 2021, the four awarded organisations have implemented a range of initiatives and supports including mentoring programmes, as well as the development of skills through literacy, numeracy and IT classes.

Terri Dempsey, COO, State Street Ireland said: Over the past three years, State Street has worked closely with Rethink Ireland to identify and back the most impactful organisations who are tackling the issue of disability unemployment. Several employees from State Street took part in the UCC Disability Support Service Mentoring Programme, the personal stories and positive influence of the training, mentoring and work experience creates a lasting ripple effect for everyone. Our mentors gained as much from the experience as the mentees. The impact of the Ability to Work fund has been remarkable; the data and statistics speak for themselves.”

Deirdre Mortell, CEO, Rethink Ireland commented: “We know that almost two thirds of people with disabilities are unemployed in Ireland. This is unacceptably low when we know that people with disabilities have a right to equal employment opportunities. The Ability to Work Fund is one step towards addressing this.”

Source: Rethink Ireland