Building Inclusive Work Places - Celebrating 12+ Years of Collaboration between the Irish Civil Service and AHEAD
Tuesday, 4th December 2018
The document, Building Inclusive Work Places - celebrating 12+ years of collaboration between the Irish Civil Service and AHEAD, was launched on the 6th December in the National Gallery by Minister Paschal Donohoe.
Today, and against the backdrop of the changing make-up of Irish society, the development of inclusive frameworks is critical to success in business and cohesion in society. A key priority of the Civil Service People Strategy, launched last year, is to strive to make the Civil Service an employer of choice while ensuring that the Civil Service has a diverse workforce more reflective of Irish society.
This publication gives a snapshot of the efforts made over the preceding 30 years by the State to address the barriers people with disabilities face in accessing education and employment. AHEAD introduced the Willing Able Mentoring (WAM) programme in 2005 as one such Initiative to raise awareness of the obstacles this cohort faced. Currently funded by the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection (DEASP) WAM is designed to assist graduates with disabilities make the transition from third level education into the world of work.
Louis Watters, Assistant Principal, Legal Services, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and previous WAM graduate, wrote the forword for the publication and spoke at the launch.
'In 2005, having watched my fellow graduates secure employment, and like so many graduates with a disability, frustrated with my own employment prospects, I happened to attend a career fair in the
Mansion House where AHEAD had a stand. It was there that I learned of the inaugural Willing Able Mentoring (WAM) initiative. I submitted an application and subsequently was offered a 6 month mentored placement with the Department of Agriculture. On completion of my placement, I applied for a permanent role with the Civil Service and returned to Agriculture as a Clerical Officer. Over the following years, I gradually gained promotion to the role of Assistant Principal where I am today.
Looking back, I have to say that we have come a long way since those early days of the WAM initiative. I welcome the publication of this document. It highlights some of the successes that the WAM project has achieved over the past 13 years, 13 years that included the most severe downturn that the state has experienced. A decade of contraction within the Civil Service. Yet, in that time, the WAM initiative has placed 170 graduates with disabilities throughout the Civil Service.'
David Cagney, Chief Human Resources Officer for the Civil Service, welcomed the launch of this publication:
'It is with great pleasure that I welcome this publication which celebrates over 12 years of collaboration between AHEAD and the Civil Service on the WAM programme.
The Civil Service is ver proud of its engagement with the WAM programme. Over the 12+ years, 170 graduates have gained valuable work experience in the Civil Service, and in turn, the Civil Service has gained much from the graduates' contribution to and participation in our workforce. '