Pictured at the State Street and Social Innovation Fund Ireland launch are Ailbhe Keane, Board Member SIFI and co-founder of Izz’s wheels, Lisa Cox, member of Blue Diamond Drama Academy, Minister Regina Doherty, TD, Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection, Daniel Ryan, member of Blue Diamond Drama Academy and Tadhg Young, Senior VP and Country Head Ireland, State Street.
Employers across Ireland were urged to “see ability not disability” and to create more opportunities in the workplace for people with visible and invisible disabilities at the launch of a new partnership between Social Innovation Fund Ireland (SIFI) and State Street.
The partnership will see the creation of the Ability to Work Fund which will provide €1.5 million funding over 3 years to organisations working to empower more people with a disability to gain employment. The Ability to Work Fund is also supported by the Department of Rural and Community Development through the Dormant Accounts Fund.
SIFI and State Street hope that during the three years of the initiative, the fund will aim to reach 500 educationally-disadvantaged students across the country and empower 250 people to progress along pathways to employment. A disability might be a visible, physical or intellectual disability or it might be an invisible one such as a learning disability, traumatic brain injury or mental health condition.
Launching the Ability to Work Fund, Regina Doherty T.D., Minister for Employment Affairs & Social Protection said, “The National Disability Inclusion Strategy contains a comprehensive employment strategy for people with disabilities, many of whom want to work but are faced with barriers and challenges - some of which are personal, but more of which are societal and demand a concerted effort by Government, Employers and Civic society to break them down.
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“The Ability to Work Fund is an important initiative which will help provide bridges and supports into work for people living with a disability and I congratulate Social Innovation Fund Ireland and State Street for their vision in its establishment”.
Minister Doherty added that “within the public sector we are looking to double the number of people with a disability employed by 2024 and we are looking at alternative recruitment channels for people with disabilities”.
Tadhg Young, Ireland Country Head at State Street said: “Embracing diversity is the right thing to do, but it means little without a strong commitment to inclusion. At State Street we have long believed in the power of inclusion in the workforce and have a broad suite of initiatives in place to recognise and acknowledge what makes people unique, but to also ensure we include all employees at all levels of the organisation.
“We are proud to partner with SIFI on the launch of the Ability to Work Fund to help move economically disadvantaged populations forward and promote equality of opportunity in education and sustainable employment for everyone in society. By focusing on organisations that specially support those with visible or invisible disabilities, through training, upskilling, education and other services, Ability to Work will support and empower people with disabilities to progress into employment.”