Disability awareness training grants
Employers that provide disability awareness training for their staff may be able to apply for grant aid towards the cost of this training. Disability awareness aims to provide the best possible customer service to clients and customers and promotes the employability of disabled people by creating work environments that are open and welcoming to all staff.
The Disability Awareness Training Support Scheme is aimed at employers that provide this training and helps raise awareness of disability issues in the workplace. Disability awareness also addresses the concerns and misconceptions that employers and employees may have about working with disabled people. The scheme is funded under the Department of Social Protection’s Reasonable Accommodation Fund.
Under the terms of the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 and the Equal Status Acts 2000-2015 employers are encouraged to initiate "positive action" training that focuses on achieving equality and eliminating discrimination.
Disability awareness training that qualifies for grant aid is suitable for the following:
- Employers interested in employing or retaining staff with disabilities
- Employers interested in promoting the employment of staff with disabilities.
- Employees at all levels in your organisation.
Disability awareness training that is undertaken must form part of your organisation's human resources or equal opportunities policy and the programme must be approved by the managing director of your organisation. Disability awareness training (in-company or external) delivered by the parent company or associated organisation or by a member(s) of the company’s own staff will not be eligible for funding under this scheme.
Disability training providers
There is no pre-approved list of disability awareness course providers. The National Disability Authority (NDA) has published guidelines for purchasers of disability equality training. Further information for staff in public bodies responsible for carrying out and managing the procurement of services and goods can be found on the NDA’s website.
The disability awareness course provider selected by the organisation must be approved by a Department of Social Protection (DSP) Case Officer or an Assistant Principal prior to the commencement of the training programme or course.
Training that is eligible for this grant is aimed at providing employees with an understanding and awareness of the issues surrounding disability, especially as it impacts on the participation of people with disabilities in the workforce.
It should include the following:
- An overview of the relevant anti-discrimination and equal opportunities legislation
- General and specific information on disabilities and abilities, focusing on mobility issues and sensory issues, such as blindness or deafness
- Perceptual awareness exercises that aim to dispel common myths
- Disability etiquette, to clarify appropriate language and behaviour
- Information on dealing with mental health issues in the workplace.
Grant assistance of 90% of the eligible training programme costs (up to a maximum of €20,000 in any one calendar year) is available to your organisation for the first year of training.
After this first year, 80% of eligible training programme costs is covered (to a maximum of €20,000 in any one calendar year).
Eligible programme costs include:
- Fees paid for in-house disability awareness training by external trainers
- Learning materials (up to a maximum cost of €650) that are clearly associated with the training programme (for example, DVD's, manuals, books)
- Computer/web-based or open learning programme fees
- Fees paid in respect of external programmes.
Activities that are not grant aided
The following activities are not grant aided.
- Training programmes (in-company or external) about disability training that are delivered by a parent or associate organisation or by a member of the organisation's own staff will not be eligible for funding under this scheme
- Cost of training that is mandatory for enterprises to comply with regulations or legisltation
- Purchase of hardware equipment and software systems for training purposes
- Apprenticeship training
- Consultancy-type projects associated with equipment
- Capital expenditure associated with training
- Conferences, trade exhibitions, seminars and workshops
- The purchase of audio-tapes, records or videos.
How to apply
If you wish to apply for approval for this scheme, you can request an application form from a Department of Social Protection Case Officer or Assistant Principal. You can also download an application form here (pdf). This should be submitted at least 3 weeks (but not earlier than 2 months) before the commencement of each programme.
How to claim the grant
Before grants are paid, your organisation must complete the appropriate claim form and return it no later than 2 months after the completion of the programme. Certificates of attendance, which must include certain specific information, supplied by the training organisation must also be supplied with the claim form. You can download a claim form here (pdf).
In order to apply for grant assistance under this scheme, your organisation must not be in receipt of grants from any other source relating to disability awareness training.
Where to apply
Further information regarding the application and processing of claims for grant aid (pdf) under this scheme are available from your local Intreo centre or social welfare branch.