A Belmullet based national employment organisation has played a leading role in a pan European project to develop new resources, which could support more individuals from marginalised or disadvantaged groups into the workplace.
The Irish Association of Supported Employment (IASE ) partnered with employment organisations from 12 other European countries on the project.
The official Irish launch of the project, which is called Toolkit for Diversity, was held in the Harlequin Hotel, Castlebar, recently.
The project involved the development of a new ‘toolkit’, which outlines a tried and tested model for community, support, or social workers to use to assist their clients to get and keep a job in the open labour market.
While the Toolkit for Diversity project targeted three specific groups, ex-offenders, early school leavers, and individuals recovering from substance abuse, it could be used to support any marginalised group, according to Sarah Togher, national coordinator of the IASE.
“The toolkit is now available for any group who wants to use it and we are very happy to share it with them,” she outlined.
“This is a very significant piece of work and the adapted toolkit has the potential to influence employment policy at a national and European level.”
The IASE promotes employment opportunities for people with disabilties using a model called supported employment.
Supported employment was pioneered in North America in the 1980s, to assist people with disabilties, who often experience huge barriers to the workplace, into jobs in the open labour market.
“It involves a professional job coach working, one-on-one, with an individual client and an employer to make a good job match and then tailoring the right supports to make the job sustainable for both the individual and the employer,” explained Ms Togher.
“The model has proven to be hugely successful in supporting individuals with disabilities into the workplace and there are 5,000 people at work in Ireland through supported employment.”
The IASE played a leading role in developing the first European guide to supported employment in 1997, working alongside the European Union of Supported Employment (EUSE ) on the project.
The Toolkit for Diversity has adapted that guide so that supported employment can be put to work to help other, similarly marginalised, groups to overcome the barriers they might typically experience when it comes to finding and keeping a job.
For more information, visit www.iase.ie