Some 17,710 people in Mayo have a disability, according to the latest figures released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO ).
This group accounts for just over 13 per cent of the county’s population and working age adults within this large group are more likely than the rest of the general population to face challenges and barriers when it comes to finding, securing and retaining a job. That is according to the Irish Association of Supported Employment (IASE ), a national organisation promoting equal employment opportunities for people with disability through supported employment.
The IASE, which is headquartered in Belmullet, cited a report published by the Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI ) earlier this year.
It showed people with disabilities are less than half as likely to be at work when compared to the rest of the working age population. Thirty-six per cent of people with disabilities are active in the labour market compared to 77 per cent of other adults.
The IASE is hosting a major European conference next month to address some of the challenges, innovations and latest developments in the area of supporting people with disabilities and other marginalised groups into jobs.
The European Union of Supported Employment (EUSE ) conference, sponsored by the Rehab Group, will see leading world experts on disability and employment from more than 30 countries, across five continents, gather in Croke Park for three days.
Greg Barry is the co-ordinator of EmployAbility Mayo, which provides employment services to people with disabilities across the county. He represents Mayo nationally on the board of the IASE and is heavily involved in bringing the EUSE conference to Ireland. He explained why the conference is a significant event for Ireland. “We need to see real public debate about this. Nobody should experience serious barriers to the working world, which plays such an important role in promoting social inclusion,” he outlined.
“This European conference will place significant emphasis on the positive contribution individuals with a disability can make to the workplace and explore the challenges and solutions to more inclusive employment practices and worksites.”