Dublin City University’s Ability programme is celebrating its first year. DCU Ability promotes the employability of young people (eighteen to twenty-nine) with disabilities to gain the skills, competencies and experiences needed to be career-ready, by creating meaningful and tailored pathways into education, training and work placements, using a person-centred approach.
In the first year:
• 35 students have completed the course (the target is 100 over three years)
• 16 have finished work experience placements (additional 2 currently on placement)
• DCU Ability has worked with 19 employers
• 5 people have gained employment <8 hours per week
• 2 have gained employment >8 hours per week
• 1 person has started full time third level education
• A successful pilot has been set up with Applegreen Plc
Key to the success of DCU Ability has been the assessment process which starts from the beginning with a meeting with the team on the Glasnevin campus which includes an occupational therapist, career advisor, tutor, speech and language therapist and project manager.
They plan with the young person and their family/career/key worker, and choose the best programme to go on as well as setting personal goals around work and work placements. These placements are based on DCU campuses and focus on the individuals’ career choice. The reflective learning enables the design of the Career Action Plan with the participant and their support network.
Dr. Deirdre Corby, project lead, said:
"The DCU Ability project has surpassed our expectations. The progress so far has shown that there is an appetite out there with our young people to get work, if they are given the opportunity. This programme is about citizenship, about inclusion and about giving agency to young adults with disabilities. It’s about helping them achieve their independence.”
Dr. Carmel Andersen, project manager, said:
“We are continuing to seek employers to partner with us to offer external work placements, both part time and full time, or offer their skills if they would like to get involved in this rewarding and fulfilling project. Over this first year we have seen greater engagement with services such as St Michael’s House, Prosper Fingal, Autism Initiatives, National Learning Network and Daughters of Charity, and all of these contribute to making the project a success.
I would like to thank all the great people who have been involved so far, especially the employers who have made this such an enriching experience for the young people by offering them really great work experiences.”
About DCU Ability
Dublin City University are working in partnership with St Michael’s House, campus businesses and other disability service providers to harness their joint expertise, resources and facilities.
DCU Ability will support 100 young people and provide training programmes, career advice and occupational therapist support in the work placements. Bespoke personal development plans will enable these young people to transition from school to employment or education.
The programme works closely with companies who can offer a job placement, to give Ability students an experience of what it is like to be in the workplace.
DCU Ability is co-financed by the Irish Government and the ESF Programme for Employability Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020.