Our Disability Network's breakfast briefing on 26th April on how to become a more disability confident and accessible employer attracted employers from as far afield as south Dublin and north Wicklow, as well as from more local businesses in the Bray and Greystones area.
The event was put on in collaboration with national organisation Employers for Change, with funding and support also provided by Bray Area Partnership’s IMPACT Initiative.
In her opening words, Bray Area Partnership chairperson, Councillor Aoife Flynn Kennedy, said
“There is a higher level of unemployment among people with disabilities, which means employers are missing out on an innovative and creative pool of talent. We know from research that there is a strong business case for disability inclusion, with more inclusive and diverse businesses proven to be more successful.”
Christabelle Feeney from Employers for Change then gave a presentation on the diversity of disability, the positive business case for disability inclusion, how employers can implement Reasonable Accommodations, inclusive recruitment practices and grants available to employers. Employers for Change is a national service that gives advice and information to employers on recruiting and employing people with disabilities. Christabelle noted that
“In today’s world, people are looking to employers who value them and who are including their needs in their processes. Having an accessible website is important, as this is the front door to any organisation. Providing reasonable accommodations at every step of the recruitment and job retention process is crucial to creating an inclusive work environment.”
This was followed by an input from Conor Brandon Byrne, who talked about his journey to employment as a fashion retail sales advisor in the men’s department in Arnott’s. Conor said:
“I am here today speaking before you because of the fantastic supports I received from my family, RehabCare Bray, Bray Area Partnership’s IMPACT initiative and the employers who believed in me. People with a disability just need to be given the same opportunities as non-disabled people and I hope employers present will commit to having an inclusive workforce, showcasing the many skills and talents that people with a disability can bring to their companies."
The event concluded with a panel discussion that was joined by Edel McSorley from Mr Price, who shared stories about her company’s innovative approaches to implementing recruitment and employment practices that are truly inclusive of people with disabilities. Edel said
“We value the diversity of our employees and consider different types of applications. We understand that every individual is different and has something to offer our organisation. We use a reasonable accommodation passport to support all employees that require adjustments at work.”
This event was made possible with funding and resources from Employers for Change, the IMPACT Initiative and Bray Area Partnership’s Social Inclusion and Community Activation Programme (SICAP), which is co-funded by the Irish Government, through the Department of Rural and Community Development, and the European Social Fund Plus under the Employment, Inclusion, Skills and Training (EIST) Programme 2021-2027.