A local support agency organised a job shadow day last week (April 22 ) in Athlone, with widespread participation across the Midlands.
The Midland Employment Support Agency (MESA ) has been running this “shadow” day for a number of years in an effort to help open up the jobs market for people with disabilities and also to encourage employers that job seekers with disabilities are definitely worth consideration when recruiting.
“It was also a great opportunity for job seekers with disabilities to learn about potential job opportunities and gain greater insight around job requirements and employer expectations,” said employment officer with MESA, Ms Rosemarie O’Brien.
“The Job Shadow Day was supported by FAS, with the idea originating with ourselves here in MESA where we are keen to promote the potential contribution that job seekers with disabilities can make to the workplace.”
A wide range of occupations were incorporated ranging from admin roles, supermarkets, clerical, IT support, horticulture, maintenance, catering, printing, general operatives and the like.
MESA exists to help people with disabilities to gain and maintain meaningful employment in the open labour market. MESA is funded by FAS to deliver this service throughout counties Longford, Westmeath, Laois and Offaly.
Unemployment runs higher in the disability working age sector than in any other working age sector in Ireland with only approximately 30 per cent of people with disabilities who wish to work, securing employment.
Job Shadow aims to address this issue by encouraging employers to consider job seekers with disabilities when recruiting.
Football legend and MESA job shadow supporter, John Giles commented “This excellent service cannot work without employers being open to considering a person’s ability to do the job. Job Shadow will serve to highlight this and help address some of the concerns around employing a person with a disability”.
“It’s all about employability.”