During times of recession and crisis, employment rights for people with disabilities tend to be pushed into the background. Since March this year Cope Foundation's Ability@Work Team have continued to engage with their participants and developed innovative ways to teach and up skill using social media and online platforms.
When the country started gradually reopening in the summer, the team were determined to open their service as safely and as efficiently as possible. Safe working conditions proved challenging due to COVID-19. Extra space was needed so that the Ability@Work team could provide a proper service to the people they support.
The Team have had an on-going relationship with Kathleen Linehan from Trigon Hotel Group since the beginning of the Ability@Work Programme. Kathleen has been an invaluable ambassador for inclusive recruitment here in Cork. When Kathleen learned of the need for additional space she offered the Ability@Work Team a weekly space to use in one of the Metropole Hotel’s function rooms. The sheer size of this room afforded the team the opportunity to resume face to face work safely with their participants.
‘It is important to us to create an inclusive culture at Trigon Hotels, celebrating our differences and making everyone feel included in the work place. Equal opportunities, participation and fair treatment are very much at the core of who we are. Collaborating with Ability@Work and Cope Foundation on a number of projects has enabled us to do just that, and we have had the pleasure of having two members work in our organisation. We have facilitated two further work experience placements and are looking forward to welcoming two people as part of our team in the coming months. In these times, inclusion for all should be a given, regardless of peoples' different abilities, it is up to us as employers to take this into account during our recruitment and on boarding process.’ - Kathleen Linehan, Trigon Hotel Group
Because of the generosity of the Trigon Hotel Group, the Ability@Work team have been able to recommence a full service. Since August, the team have gained 5 frontline essential worker jobs on the strength of this kindness. This would not have been possible without this support.
Ability@Work is a dedicated supported employment service for people with intellectual disabilities and/autism. The project connects employers with people with different abilities who want to work creating positive opportunities through sustainable employment.
Ability@Work is part of the national Ability Programme which is co-financed by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014 - 2020.
If you would like to hear more about how your company can support the Ability@Work programme contact:
Marian Hennessey, Ability@Work Co-Ordinator