Disability employment strategy launched

 Employment and Learning Minster, Dr Stephen Farry MLA has launched a public consultation on a strategy for improving the job prospects and working careers of people with disabilities in Northern Ireland.

 The aim of the strategy is to build on existing disability services, delivered through mainstream and community and voluntary sector programmes and also contains a number of proposals that will improve partnership working, introduce new services to individuals and will engage employers in a more collaborative manner.

 The strategy contains five key themes and a range of supporting proposals within each theme. The five key themes include supporting people to secure paid employment, job retention and career development, working with employers, research and development and strategic partnership and engagement.

Other proposals contained within the strategy include the development of robust management information systems that will enable the department to track the progress of all clients who are being supported through the range of disability services and programmes and the establishment of annual targets for the number of disabled people who move into paid employment, including self-employment.

 Addressing the assembly the Minister said that helping and supporting people with disabilities to achieve their full potential in life is a duty and responsibility for all government departments and other partners in society. He also highlighted the proposed implementation of the Supported Employment model throughout Northern Ireland claiming that it will provide high quality, personalised and often long term support for people with disabilities to maintain paid employment.

 The regional manager of the Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment welcomed the consultation and in particular the “proposed adoption of Supported Employment model as the key method to support people with significant disabilities to access and stay in employment.”

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