Dermot Hyland is currently employed at the Kinlay Hostel in Eyre Square, Galway. Dermot has availed of the Supported Employment Programme through EmployAbility Galway. Dermot was referred to EmployAbility Galway service in February 2011. Dermot, originally from Renvyle Co Galway, moved to Galway city in 198. Dermot has a mild learning disability and left secondary school after his third year to attend work preparation training. As part of his training he completed a work experience in the Value Centre, Newcastle in 1993, which resulted in paid employment. Dermot loved his job there and worked as a general operative until March 2009 when the facility in Newcastle closed and he was made redundant.
While looking for work, Dermot attended a day centre and completed a number of VEC Adult Education courses. It was through these that he learned about the EmployAbility Service. Having been referred to the service, his job search continued with its support, and Dermot remained enthusiastic and motivated even when many job applications and interviews were unsuccessful.
In May 2012, EmployAbility Galway received a call from Frank O’Connell, general manager of Kinlay Hostel. Kinlay Hostel, which is on the corner of Eyre Square, had been taken over by new management in December 2011. Since then this hostel has undergone a massive refurbishment and has been transformed into a stylish, state of the art facility with a warm and welcoming atmosphere. Since then they have won numerous awards, including earlier this year being voted “Best Hostel in Ireland” by Hostelworld.com and it has also been officially recognised as one of the Top Ten Hostels in the world.
Kinlay Hostel has a social conscience business ethos and the management wanted to give something back to the community. One of the ways they chose to do this was by employing someone with a disability. After an initial meeting with EmployAbility Galway during which a job description and person specification were drawn up, the management at Kinlay Hostel were presented with a number of different candidates, from which Dermot was selected for interview.
Following a successful interview in July 2012, Dermot began seven weeks work experience as a general assistant. The work experience was successful and Dermot commenced paid employment immediately afterwards. Dermot says “I felt like part of the team from day one, my Employment Facilitator helped with my initial training, along with Frank and the rest of the team at Kinlay. Everyone was really friendly and helpful and showed me what needed to be done and how to do it. It was hard work but I got into a routine and the work became easier and I got faster”. Returning to work has changed Dermot’s life for the better. He says “I’m much happier now, I have somewhere to go everyday and I get to meet lots of different people, I have a lot more confidence now.” Mr O’Connell said “what really makes a great hostel is the atmosphere inside, we are really lucky to be surrounded by a team who are fantastic at their job and genuinely want our guests to have the best possible experience”.
“Dermot became a part of the Kinlay Hostel family immediately and guests have commented on how nice Dermot is and how he always goes out of his way to ensure that guests have a nice stay”.
While Kinlay Hostel’s intention to hire a person with a disability stemmed from their ethos of equality, it required someone who was self motivated, energetic and hard working. It expected that following an initial training period the person would work with minimal supervision and on their own initiative. To date the employment has been even more successful then anticipated. According to Frank “Dermot is self motivated, he always likes to keep busy and he actively looks for work to do. His work is 100 per cent perfect, and I never need to check up on it as he undertakes all his tasks with meticulous detail.”
In addition to Dermot enjoying his work, employment has had a positive effect on his personal life. Since Dermot began his employment, the staff and management of Kinlay Hostel have had reason to celebrate various achievements on a number of occasions. “Dermot mixes really well with all the staff, and it’s great for us to see everyone getting on so well outside the workplace,” says Mr O’Connell. According to Dermot, returning to work has been very beneficial for him; he looks forward to these extra nights out and spending time with his new friends. He can now afford to spend more money, and enjoys being able to buy himself new clothes and to treat his family with more presents at Christmas.
If you have an interest in integrating an employee with a disability into your workplace we would be delighted to help you achieve this. You can contact EmployAbility or get more information about the service at www.employabilitygalway.ie, or call 091 755235 / 086 3800444