Published: Friday, 14th March, 2014 3:13pm
The Irish Association for Supported Employment (IASE) has announced the seventh annual National Supported Employment Week, which will take place from Monday, April, to Sunday, April 14. Job Shadow Day, which takes place on Wednesday, April 9, is the high point of the week and will see hundreds of people with disabilities take the opportunity to shadow a workplace mentor as he or she goes about a normal working day. The IASE is calling on businesses in Offaly and throughout the country to support equal employment opportunities and sign up at www.iase.ie to participate.Last year, over 460 individuals with a disability shadowed at 439 employment sites in Ireland, with 27 securing a permanent job placement as a direct result. Following on from its success in Ireland, National Supported Employment Week is set to roll-out in Europe, with 12 countries already committed to take part in 2015.Many high profile individuals participated in Job Shadow Day last year to include Minister Joan Burton and popular Today FM presenter Ray D’Arcy. Commenting on her experience of the Job Shadow initiative, Minister Joan Burton said: “I have participated in the IASE’s Job Shadow Day since 2011 and I worked with Austin in 2011, James in 2012 and with Aidan last year. It’s been a privilege for me to be a part of such a worthwhile initiative. The experience has emphasised for me the excellent work of the IASE, whose core belief is that people with disabilities including those with significant disabilities should have equal opportunity to have a job. I share that belief and I would encourage employers with a suitable vacancy to hire a person with a disability, which will enable that person to participate more fully in the labour market and in society.”Job Shadow Day is designed to give people with disabilities the unique opportunity to get a close up look at the world of work for one day or one week in April each year to discover and learn about the skills and education required to compete and succeed in the work place.IrishJobs.ie, Ireland’s number one recruitment website, is the main sponsor of National Supported Employment Week and the Job Shadow initiative.Orla Moran, General Manager at IrishJobs.ie said: “We are delighted to be involved with National Supported Employment Week for a third year. This initiative, particularly Job Shadow Day, really highlights the positive impact of an inclusive workplace for everyone involved and the valuable contribution people with disabilities can bring. We would encourage all employers throughout Ireland to join us on Job Shadow Day and demonstrate support for equal employment opportunities.”Greg Barry, Chairman, IASE concluded: “Almost 3,000 Job Shadowing placements have taken place since the initiative commenced in 2008, resulting in 86 job placements. It has proved an extremely positive campaign raising awareness among the business sector and the general public on an aspect of their community about which many were relatively uninformed. Job Shadow highlights the potential contribution of people with disabilities to economic activity. This assists in the process of opening doors, removing barriers, changing attitudes, perceptions, and promoting inclusion.” Employers and job seekers interested in participating in Job Shadow Day 2014 are invited to register their interest at www.iase.ie.