For Oral Answer on : 24/03/2022
Question Number(s): 52 Question Reference(s): 15465/22
Department: Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Children; Equality; Disability; Integration and Youth the way his Department is supporting persons with disabilities to access training and employment; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities 2015-2024 (CES) is the primary disability employment policy initiative in Ireland. It is a cross-government approach, bringing together actions by Government Departments and Agencies to address the barriers and challenges to employment of all persons with disabilities. The CES’s strategic priorities are to build skills, capacity and independence, to provide bridges and supports into work, to make work pay, to promote job retention and re-entry to work, to provide co-ordinated and seamless supports and to engage employers.
Implementation of the Strategy is undertaken through agreed action plans and is monitored by an Implementation Group with an independent chairperson, Mr Fergus Finlay. Currently the group is developing a final Action Plan for the period 2022 – 2024.
There have been a number of successful steps forward that we have taken under the CES to date. One such success is the decision to allow all young people leaving school or rehabilitative training to defer their day service placement by up to 3 years to allow them to pursue other opportunities such as further education or employment.
Other key areas of progress include the ongoing implementation of specific recommendations arising from the Make Work Pay Report and the production by the Public Appointment Service of a Guide to Promoting Inclusive Employment, the ‘Towards Work’ Project and ‘Employers for Change: A Disability Information Service’ which provides expert peer source of advice and information on employing staff with disabilities.
There are also several grants available to employers to make their workplaces more disability-friendly such as the Workplace Equipment Adaptation Grant, the Personal Reader Grant, the Job Interview Interpreter Grant; and the Employee Retention Grant.
The Government is committed to increasing the target of persons with disabilities employed in the public sector from 3% to 6%. This new target will be enshrined in primary legislation (the Assisted Decision Making (Capacity) (Amendment) Bill) which is currently being drafted and will be introduced to the Houses shortly.