Minister of State Kevin Humphreys addresses County Sligo Accessibility Awards


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Kevin Humphreys, T.D. Minister of State at the Department of Social Protection with responsibility for Employment, Community and Social Support is in Sligo today (Friday, 17 April 2015) to speak at the County Accessibility Awards, an event developed by the SEED Project and which is a joint initiative between Sligo Leader Partnership Company and the Sligo Disability Network.

Speaking ahead of the event, Minister Humphreys said: “I congratulate all who took part in the Accessibility Awards Programme.  I am delighted to present these awards that recognise the progress, achievements and commitment of organisations and employers in promoting the employment of people with disabilities and improving accessibility for their customers with disabilities.

“Bringing people with disabilities into employment has huge benefits for everyone involved.  It is an opportunity to tap into the substantial talent pool available within the cohort of people with disabilities.  There are many positive effects from having a more diverse and cohesive work-force.”

Over the past two years the Department of Social Protection has provided over €5 million to support some 14 projects under the umbrellas ‘Disability Activation Project’ (DACT) throughout the Border, Midlands and West region to explore a variety of routes towards enabling people with disabilities avail of progression, education and development opportunities into employment. 
There are four specific strands to the projects –

  1. Improving access to employment;
  2. Progression programmes for young people;
  3. Support for progression and retention of people with an acquired disability; and
  4. Innovation Employer Initiatives.

The Department of Social Protection has recently commissioned Indecon International Economic Consultants to undertake an independent evaluation of the DACT projects, which have been co-funded by the ESF and the Department of Social Protection.  Minister Humphreys said that a key part of the evaluation will be to identify from the projects what works in relation to increasing the capacity and potential of social welfare customers with disabilities to participate in the labour market. 

The Minister said that the DACT projects will help greatly in identifying how best to support employers who see the opportunity to avail of the skills and abilities of people with disabilities.  He also highlighted the range of supports available from the Department of Social Protection for employers who are considering employing a person with a disability.  “These supports which include the wage subsidy scheme, the reasonable accommodation fund and the EmployAbility service, all play an important role in supporting increased participation in the labour force by people with disabilities”, the Minister added.

While in Sligo, Minister Humphreys will visit the Men’s Shed Project at Temple Street.  He will also meet with the management, staff and participants of the Sligo Community Training Centre in Cleveragh Industrial Estate.  Finally, the Minister will meet with the participants and management of the North Connaught Youth and Community Services at their offices in Rockwood Parade.

ENDS

Last modified:17/04/2015