Our mentorship programme’s goal is to help people with disabilities meet their full potential for further education opportunities, employment, or self-employment. Our mentors can serve as role models and share experiences while helping to support you on your employment pathway or further education goals. More information about the Towards Work Mentorship Programme.
Towards Work is supported by the Open Doors Initiative, who work with a range of companies who practice inclusive recruitment. Read more about the latest available positions, apprenticeships and internships.
The EmployAbility Service is an employment and recruitment service that helps people who have a disability, an injury or an illness to get and keep a job. It provides a number of supports, such as a job coach who works with both jobseekers and employers.
The EmployAbility Service works through sponsor organisations in local communities on behalf of the Department of Social Protection. Sponsor organisations are often community and voluntary organisations in your local area that provide direct services to people with disabilities.
EmployAbility Service supports include:
- Career advice and employment support. Career advice includes identifying your skills and helping you to search for a job.
- A professional job-matching service to help ensure successful recruitment; advice and information on additional employment supports.
- Examine the various tasks involved in the job and plan the supports you may need and help you to develop the technical and social skills needed to do the job.
- Help with applying for jobs.
- Help with finding jobs. Matching your skills with employers’ needs, Help with fitting into the workplace after you get a job,
- Advice on employment benefits and entitlements
- Ongoing support for both the employer and employee throughout employment.
When you and your job coach have identified and agreed on the type of work you are interested in, the next stage is to apply for jobs You can do this either by applying for jobs that are advertised by businesses in the usual way, or by your job coach helping you to apply for jobs in your area. Sometimes, this can involve your job coach contacting employers in your area or in your chosen field of work.
To use the EmployAbility Service, you must be aged between 18 and 65 and need support in finding and getting a job. Using the EmployAbility Service is free. You do not have to pay for any of the supports you receive.
You must also be job ready. Job ready is defined as having ‘the necessary training, education, motivation and ability to pursue work/a career in the open labour market’. The service is for people who genuinely need the support of a job coach to get a job in the open market.
Job coaches provide continuing support in several ways, depending on what you need. For example, they can help with on-the-job training and can support you and the employer when you first start a job. Alternatively, they can provide support and advice only when you ask for it.
During a placement, a job coach provides information, advice and ongoing support to employers. Occasionally, the employer and employee may agree that the job is not working out. If this happens, the job coach can then step in to assess the situation and offer more support.
When you get a job through this service, you have the same employment rights as other employees. For example, your employer will pay your salary and you will agree the terms and conditions of employment in the same way as other employees.
Further information about the EmployAbility service.
If you have a visual impairment or are blind and need help with reading at work, you may be eligible to apply for a grant to allow you to employ a personal reader.
This grant is only paid if you are employed in the private sector. This grant aid allows you to employ someone on a part-time or ad-hoc basis for a maximum of 640 hours a year to help you with reading at work.
The grant is provided under the Department of Social Protection’s Reasonable Accommodation Fund.
You do not have to be registered blind or have a specified level of sight loss to qualify for a Personal Reader Grant. If you are having trouble with reading at work for reasons of visual impairment, then you are entitled to apply for this grant. In addition, there is no means test associated with a Personal Reader Grant and you do not need to have a certain level of income to apply.
If you are a student at college or university and are having trouble with reading as a result of a visual impairment, you should get in touch with the Disability Liaison Officer for your college/university.
The Workplace Equipment Adaptation Grant (WEAG) is a grant for people with a disability who work in the private sector.
Employers and self-employed people can apply for the grant towards the cost of adapting the workplace or making it more accessible for staff with disabilities.
The grant is provided by the Department of Social Protection
You can apply for this grant if you
- Have been offered employment or an apprenticeship in the private sector.
- Are in employment in the private sector and have recently changed jobs because you have been re-deployed or promoted.
- Are in employment in the private sector and you acquired a disability while in employment, or you have a condition that has deteriorated.
- Are about to become self-employed and need adaptations to your workplace or equipment.
- Note: Public sector employers and employees cannot get this grant. Public sector employers include government departments, State agencies, the Health Service Executive and local authorities. Public sector employers must facilitate staff with disabilities by making assistive technology adaptive equipment and facilities, aids and appliances available. They must cover the costs of this themselves.
You or your employer can apply for this grant. The maximum grant is €6,350.
Further information about the Workplace Equipment/Adaptation Grant.
Assistive Technology are tools that can increase your independence, employability and productivity be that in either the workplace or in further education. There are three categories of AT, ranging from 'Low-tech' such as a laptop stand or footrest through 'Medium-tech' up to ‘Hi-tech' including sophisticated communication and computer control systems.
Examples of assistive technology include:
- Alternative keyboards, featuring larger or smaller than standard keys
- Touch screens
- Joysticks, manipulated by hand, feet, chin to control cursor on screen
- Personal Listening Devices- many hard of hearing people use these to aid communication.
- Screen enlargers/magnifiers/ readers
- Speech recognition programs
- Simple adjustments to a car can enable people with physical disabilities to be mobile.
- Technology for ensuring Deaf and hard of hearing people are alerted to the fire alarm being activated.
- Computer-based AT applications
Other Examples of different types of Assistive Technology
AT Hive is a new resource brought to you by AHEAD and DAWN (the Disability Advisors Working Network) that aims to raise awareness about Assistive Technology (AT) in the Education and Employment Sectors. AT Hive has about 50 examples of free and paid AT that can help with reading, writing, organisation, recording, communication, collaboration and more. These assistive technologies come in many forms like apps, websites, software, devices as well as in Office 365 and Google Workspace, to just name a few. If you are new to AT, or have some used AT already, then explore AT Hive to see the wide range of technologies that are available that can help in any ways.
Some Assistive Technology Suppliers include: