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Willing, Able Mentoring Programme

The Civil Service Equality Unit, on behalf of Government Departments and Offices in Ireland has been working with a voluntary organisation, the Association for Higher Education Access and Disability (AHEAD) to implement a work experience programme,

Willing, Able Mentoring (WAM).

The programme is aimed at graduates with disabilities seeking a paid work placement for up to six months.

OBJECTIVES

  • To implement Civil Service policy on the employment of people with disabilities.
  • To identify and tackle the challenges facing graduates with disabilities in gaining employment.
  • To raise the awareness of the qualifications held by graduates with disabilities and the contributions they can make to the workforce.

The WAM Process

  • WAM placements are advertised by AHEAD to those who have registered with AHEAD and other networks. Full details can be found on www.ahead.ie.
  • Candidates short-listed are invited to attend a competency based interview and asked to complete a Needs Identification Questionnaire so that if required, reasonable accommodation can be provided at the interview stage.
  • Work placements are typically offered to candidates who pass the interview and have the qualifications required by the Department or Office offering the work placement.
  • On assignment, candidates or Mentees are assigned a Manager and a Mentor. The role of the Manager is to set out the project to be undertaken and monitor progress. The role of the Mentor is to build a supportive working relationship with the Mentee and act as a point of contact for any concerns that the Mentee might have.
  • An independent Needs Assessor conducts a Needs Assessment with the Mentee to ascertain if any reasonable accommodation is required in the workplace.
  • Work placements are for a period of up to six months and are on a paid basis.
  • On completion of a work placement an evaluation is conducted with the Mentee, Mentor and Manager.

References:

Voluntary organisation website http://www.ahead.ie/

Government publication Code of Practice for the Employment of People with a Disability in the Irish Civil Service 2007

The National Job Shadow Initiative

The Civil Service Equality Unit, on behalf of Government Departments and Offices in Ireland has been working with a voluntary organisation, the Irish Association of Supported Employment (IASE) to implement The National Job Shadow Initiative.The project is aimed at people with disabilities seeking to gain an insight into the workplace.

OBJECTIVES

To implement Civil Service policy on the employment of people with disabilities.

  • To identify and tackle the challenges facing people with disabilities in gaining employment.
  • To raise the awareness of the competences, capabilities and contributions people with disabilities can make to the workforce.

The Civil Service is strongly committed to the development and implementation of improved measures to promote and support the employment of persons with disabilities. Through its policies it will aim to ensure that persons with disabilities are placed in jobs that are matched to their skills and abilities.

On a designated day each year, normally at the end of April, personnel from Government Departments and Offices participate in the National Job Shadow Initiative.

The Initiative is designed to bring job seekers with disabilities into the workplace where they can learn about various career opportunities. The day positively assists in showcasing the talents and abilities and the contribution individuals with a disability can make to the workforce nationally.

The benefits to job seekers include exposure to a work setting which provides the opportunity to learn more about the job requirements and employers expectations. Job seekers also have the opportunity to evaluate how the skills already learned can be used in the workplace and therefore make informed career decisions for their future.

HOW (methodology)

Using the key principles (provided by the voluntary organisation, IASE) of Supported Employment, individuals who participate in Job Shadow Initiative (JSI) are supported using the following four key strands:

1. Skills Assessment

A Job Coach from a local supported employment agency works with the individual prior to the Job Shadow Initiative to identify their skills, competencies and interests.

2. Job Matching

Having consulted with both the individual and personnel in the Government office, the Job Coach will support the individual and the employer in identifying a suitable Job Shadow Placement.

3. Job Seeking

The Job Coach supports the individual in securing an appropriate JSI placement having consulted with both the individual and the employer.

4. Other Support

The necessary Job Shadow Faciltator supports are provided on the job or otherwise to support the Job Seeker and the employer to participate in the JSI.

TARGET GROUP People with disabilities.

STARTING AND END DATE Annual Project.

Voluntary organisation website http://www.iase.ie/