The Minister for Social Protection, Heather Humphreys TD, and the Minister of State with responsibility for Disability, Anne Rabbitte TD, have confirmed that arrangements will be put in place to support the continued provision of employment services for young people with disabilities.
The Ability Programme was introduced in June 2018 to bring young people with disabilities closer to the labour market and we are delighted to hear that funding has been secured to continue the Ability Programme into the future. Everyone at Cope Foundation is delighted to hear this news as our Ability@Work programme is part of this national initiative.
Cope Foundation's Ability@Work programme is a dedicated supported employment service which aims to bring young people (aged between 18-29 years) with intellectual disabilities and/or autism closer to the labour market. This programme assists jobseekers at key transition points between education, training and employment.
The funding for the Ability Programme nationally will amount to around €16 million over a three-year period.
As the three year Programme is to conclude in June 2021, Ministers Humphreys and Rabbitte have confirmed that a range of new measures will be put in place to ensure that funding support for young people with disabilities will remain available into the future. Further details will be announced in the coming weeks and Pobal and the Department of Social Protection will be communicating directly with Ability Providers.
Minister Humphreys stated:
“I am committed to improving and extending supports to help more people with disabilities get into employment and stay in the workforce. The work that the providers have carried out under the Ability Programme has been innovative and has made a huge difference in the lives of the young participants. I want to continue this type of programme so that more young people with disabilities avail of the opportunities they need to fulfil their potential. I am very satisfied that the plan being put in place will meet the needs of these young people and that the supports will fit within the suite of existing employment supports for people with disabilities provided by the Department of Social Protection.”