Open 50 project to raise the profile of employment for people with disabilities

Caroline Ball from Louisburgh, an employee at O’Cee’s Coffee Shop in Westport, pictured with (from left) Margaret O’Halloran, employment development officer at the IASE; Noel Kavanagh, MD at the Kavanagh Group; Caroline Ball; and Michael Ring, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

Caroline Ball from Louisburgh, an employee at O’Cee’s Coffee Shop in Westport, pictured with (from left) Margaret O’Halloran, employment development officer at the IASE; Noel Kavanagh, MD at the Kavanagh Group; Caroline Ball; and Michael Ring, Minister of State at the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport.

A Mayo based employment and disability organisation has launched an ambitious project to encourage 50 Irish employers to commit to offering one job to a person with disability by April 2015.

The Irish Association for Supported Employment, a national organisation which promotes equal employment opportunities for people with disabilities and which is headquarted in Belmullet, was joined by Caroline Ball from Louisburgh, Minister of State Michael Ring, and Noel Kavanagh of the Kavanagh Group, to launch the new project.

Ms Ball is employed at O’Cee’s Coffee Shop, Westport. She secured her job through supported employment, the model promoted by the IASE which puts the right types of support in place to assist people with disabilities to find, secure, and maintain employment in the open labour market.

Greg Barry, from Castlebar, who is the chairperson of the IASE said Open 50 is an exciting project.

“It aims to support employers to take the first step to employing a person with a disability. Open 50 gives employers the opportunity to become champions among their peers, removing barriers to inclusion and creating diversity in the work place.”

The Open 50 project is part of the IASE’s Open Door initiative, which promotes diversity at work in the Border, Midlands West (BMW ) region. There are plans to extend the Open Door initiative nationwide in 2015.

A series of employer events has taken place throughout the region highlighting the business benefits of hiring and retaining employees with disabilities using the supported employment model. IrishJobs.ie, Ireland’s number one recruitment website, is supporting the Open 50 project.

Jane Lorigan, CEO Europe of Saongroup.com and MD of IrishJobs.ie described it as a “very positive initiative that highlights the valuable contribution a person with a disability can bring to a business or organisation”.

Employers and job seekers interested in participating in Open 50 are invited to register their interest at www.iase.ie

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