AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
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WAM Needs Assessments

The WAM Needs Assessment (NA) process is a key competent of The WAM Programme. All graduates commencing a WAM placement will undergo a NA by a staff member of AHEAD.  The purpose of the WAM Needs Assessment (NA) is to identify what supports or accommodations, if any, the WAM participant may require to complete the work placement they have been offered.

While supports may or may not be required in the initial stages, once the placement is up and running this situation may need to be reviewed. The manager or WAM participant can, at any stage during the course of the placement, request a review.

The Needs Assessment Process

The WAM Needs Assessment is a consultative and transparent process which involves liaison between a designated assessor (AHEAD Staff Member), the WAM participant and on behalf of the employer, usually the participating manager.

The WAM candidate completes an NA1 form, the participating manager completes an NA2 form and the assessor, furnished with completed NA1 and NA2 forms, conducts a one-on-one assessment with the WAM participant and completes an NA3 form.

The NA3 form recommends workplace supports, where required, and must be signed off by all three parties: the WAM participant, the employer representative and the assessor. Once recommended supports are approved every effort will be made to facilitate their implementation.

Remote Needs Assessments

It is usual process that the NA is carried out in the employer’s workplace so that AHEAD can fully assess the working environment. However, due to the current pandemic and public health guidelines relating to social distancing and remote working, this may not be possible and the NA process will be carried out virtually using video-calling platforms.

It is important to understand the limitations of the NA process during the pandemic as there may be elements of the workplace and working environment that may inadvertently not be considered or included in the NA and a review will have to be carried out when a graduate commences work on-site in the organisation.

For example, if a graduate with a disability is commencing a placement remotely and there are mobility or accessibility needs, this may not be an issue while working from home, however upon return to the office, there may be additional supports required.  Similarly, some graduates with disabilities are considered to be in a high-risk category and therefore may not be able to return to the office in parallel with other employees due to the nature of their disability.

AHEAD and WAM will endeavour to work with everyone involved to ensure all aspects of the needs assessment process are fulfilled.

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