If you have a disability and wish to take up paid employment or you require assistance in finding a job, the EmployAbility Service (formerly the Supported Employment Service) may be able to help you. It provides people with disabilities with supports to help them access employment. The supports are provided by sponsor organisations on behalf of the Department of Social Protection – see ‘Sponsor organisations’ below.
This is an employment and recruitment service to assist people, who have a range of disabilities and impairments, to obtain and keep a job. The Service provides a number of 'on-the-job' supports, such as a Job Coach who will assist both the employer and the person seeking employment. In order to avail of the EmployAbility Service, you must genuinely require the initial support of a Job Coach to obtain employment in the open market – see ‘Job Coach’ below.
The range of supports provided by the Service include:
The Service provides jobseekers with career advice and employment support. Career advice includes identification of skills and assistance with searching for jobs. Employment support is provided when accessing vacancies and applying for jobs. It also includes matching skills with the employers’ needs, work experience placements, finding employers and assistance with integrating into the workplace. The Service provides access to support services when required to maintain employment and advice on employment benefits and entitlements.
The EmployAbility Service’s supports for employers include:
The Department of Social Protection funds a range of employment supports aimed at helping employees with a disability to gain and retain employment. Under the Reasonable Accommodation Fund there is the Job Interview Interpreter Grant, the Personal Reader Grant, the Employee Retention Grant Scheme and the Workplace Equipment/Adaptation Grant. Other supports for employers include the Wage Subsidy Scheme and the Disability Awareness Training Support Scheme.
Job Coaches offer on-the-job assistance and provide ongoing support to participants before, during and after employment.
If you have a disability, a Job Coach can help you by:
When you and your Job Coach have identified and agreed the type of work you are interested in securing, the next stage is to apply for work. This can be done by either applying for jobs appropriate to your skills and interests that are advertised in the normal way or by your Job Coach helping you to identify and apply for jobs in your area. Sometimes, this can involve your Job Coach contacting employers in your area or in your chosen field of work.
Job Coaches provide ongoing support to participants in a number of ways. For some participants (depending on need), the Job Coach can assist with training on-the-job and provide support in the immediate aftermath of employment, liasing with the person and his or her employer. For other participants, the Job Coach can provide support and advice when they need it.
During a placement the Job Coach provides information, advice and ongoing support to employers. Occasionally, the employer and employee may agree that the employment is not working out. If this happens, the Job Coach can then step in and re-assess the situation with regard to further supports and assistance.
The EmployAbility Service operates through sponsor organisations. Often these are local community and voluntary organisations that provide direct services to people with disabilities. The sponsor employs Job Coaches to provide a range of supports to meet the needs of the individual jobseeker with a disability.
In order to participate in the EmployAbility Service, you must be between the ages of 18 and 65, need the support of a Job Coach in seeking and securing employment and must be job ready. Job ready is defined as "A person who has the necessary training, education, motivation and ability to pursue work/career in the open labour market".
Participation in the EmployAbility Service is free. You do not have to pay for any of the supports you receive as a result of participation in this Service. Anyone who is placed in employment through this scheme has the same employment rights as other employees. Your employer will pay your salary and you will agree the terms and conditions of employment in the same way as other employees.
You should register with your local employment services office or Intreo centre and apply for the EmployAbility Service and express your interest in the Service.
You can read more information in our document, Working with a disability.
If you have a question relating to this topic you can contact the Citizens Information Phone Service on 0761 07 4000 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 8pm) or you can visit your local Citizens Information Centre.