Date Released: 27 January 2014
Congress General Secretary David Begg on Monday, 27th January, called for a national policy of “inclusive job creation” to address the devastating effects of the recession on communities across the country.
Begg was speaking at the launch of the Training Options programme, which provides training and skills upgrades to people with disabilities to improve their prospects of securing work.
The programme was formally launched by the Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton TD, in the Longford Employment Development Information (EDI) Centre.
Begg described the Training Options programme as "a model" and said it should be mainstreamed into national training and job creation initiatives.
The current Training Options programme is run under the Disability Activation Project (DACT) and is targeted at the Border, Midlands and Western (BMW) region. The training is provided by the Irish Congress of Trade Unions through its national network of resource centres and is funded by the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Department of Social Protection (DSP).
So far, 77 people have successfully completed the training and the aim is to train a further 300 in the coming months.
Speaking at the launch Begg said: “The recession has caused massive job losses, which in turn have a corrosive long-term effect on individuals, families and communities. It has led to social and economic marginalisation, exclusion and isolation.
“For that reason, any and every training or job creation initiative must be wholly inclusive and look to bring people in from margins, across all sectors of society.
“In that respect, the Minister and the Department of Social Protection are to be congratulated for their foresight in helping fund this programme, as it can truly serve as a model of what can be done.
“We are also pleased that the National Disability Authority is working with the relevant departments to develop a comprehensive employment strategy for people with disabilities. We would hope that the employment strategy for disability will form an integral part of the next version of the Action Plan for Jobs,” Begg said.
Launching the programme, Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, said: “Bringing people with disabilities into employment has huge benefits for everyone involved, including employers. It is an opportunity to tap into the substantial talent pool available within the cohort of people with disabilities, and there are many positive effects from having a more diverse and cohesive workforce.
“One of most striking and unique elements of the Disability Activation Project is the development of a pool of mentors or disability champions from amongst the participants. This innovative approach will guarantee a positive impact of the project well beyond the lifetime of the project itself,” she said.
Minister Burton presented a number of successful Training Options graduates with certificates at the launch.