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AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability

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Your Employment Worries Answered

We asked students and graduates jobseekers to contribute to our ‘Worries Wall’ at our annual careers fair, Building the Future 2019.

Those who contributed shared any worries and concerns about finding employment, supports at work, managing disability in the workplace and the work environment. In this blog, we’ll look at some of the most common worries that contributors talked about and try and to find some solutions.

post-it notes stuck to a large white page where people have written their worries about work

‘Not being able to find employment because I have a disability’

There are more and more opportunities emerging for graduates who have disabilities. One example of this is our own programme – WAM (Willing Able Mentoring). This programme offers a minimum of 6 months, paid, mentored internships with WAM employers all around Ireland.

If you are a student or graduate with a disability, you can register on our website – www.ahead.ie/wamworks to get notifications of opportunities available through The WAM Programme and of our upskilling workshops.

 ‘Will my supports take a long time to get funding for?’

Depending on the type of support you are looking for, there are grants available from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection for private employers to support you at work – you can read more about the different grants available here on our website.

The most common grant used is the Workplace Equipment Adaptation Grant which will pay for assistive technology or adaptions to your work environment. You must currently be an employee of the company and both you and your employer must apply for this. The duration of how long it will take to get the funding approved varies from each distract depending on the local employment officer.

If you have started a new job and your employer wishes to avail of this fund, it is recommended you complete and submit the appropriate documentation and the application form ASAP. It can take anything from 4 weeks upwards. However, during this time period, your employer should still provide you with reasonable accommodations while waiting for the funding to be processed.

‘Trying to explain huge gaps in my CV’

For many people who have a disability having gaps in your CV might be common if you had become ill and needed time off work, or found it difficult to find work because of your disability. The same might apply for having less extracurricular activities or part-time working experience for a recent graduate with a disability. If this comes up at interview – you may want to think about disclosure if you feel it may affect your chance at getting the role. There is no need to go into too much detail, a simple ‘I was unwell at that time, but am better now and able for work’. If you’re thinking about disclosing have a look at our guide to making that decision.

‘Will I be able to keep up?’  

Starting a new job most people have some nerves about keeping up with workload and meeting any targets. If you are worried about these because you feel your disability might make targets more difficult, there are some supports available. Have a think about what the role will entail and look into any assistive technology that could help you complete tasks. You are legally entitled to be reasonably accommodated in the workplace – this can include redistributing tasks or reduced targets. Read more about Assistive technology and how it can help you in the workplace here.

For more worries answered, keep an eye on our twitter (@aheadireland) where we’ll be answering more questions from the worries wall.

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