AHEAD: Association for Higher Education Access & Disability
Creating inclusive environments in education & employment for people with disabilities.


Launch of AHEAD Strategic Plan 2024-28

AHEAD is delighted to launch its new strategic plan, covering the period 2024-28. Our new mission and vision are below:

Our Mission

AHEAD works with and for disabled people to shape inclusive and empowering environments in tertiary education and employment.

Our Vision

An equitable society where people with disabilities have the power and opportunity to flourish through education and employment.

View the AHEAD Strategic Plan 2024-28Stakeholders consulted during the strategic planning process have recognised the value in our work and the strong foundations we have built in recent years.  Much of this good work will continue, but this strategic plan sets out an exciting evolution in our approach - one that places the voice and experience of disabled people at the heart of its delivery. It seeks to amplify that voice, and work to place it at the strategic heart of the decision-making of policy makers, employers, and tertiary education providers.

AHEAD Strategic Plan 2024/28This will be achieved through the development of structures and projects that see us bringing disabled students and graduates together, learning from their experiences, and engaging/partnering with them to inform our work and the work of other stakeholders. An increased focus on direct engagement with Disabled Persons Organisations (DPOs) will be evident.

We will seek to build on the very strong policy influence developed in the higher education sector, expanding our reach to engage to a greater extent with advocacy in national FET and employment policy.

We will seek to engage more with organisational leaders to make inclusive practice ‘everyone’s business’ and put support for it on a more sustainable and strategic footing within organisations.

This will be achieved by developing important charters and frameworks in partnership with disabled people and key national stakeholders in tertiary education and employment, underpinned by literature on inclusion and the lived experience of disability. Supporting education providers and employers to adopt and implement these frameworks will be a major focus of AHEAD’s resources, and specific efforts will be made to recognise and support leaders in their roles as key decision-makers in the inclusion agenda. 

Widening the lens from a focus on UDL (teaching and learning) in the previous strategic plan, we will now place greater focus on raising awareness of the broader application of universal design in organisations, looking at how it can help to shape inclusive physical and digital environments, and how student and employee support services are offered. This will support the more holistic development of educational experiences and workplaces where disabled people can flourish.

We will continue to deliver on our strong track record of capacity building in inclusive practice, with a focus on further developing the ARK short course ecosystem to support role-based training in inclusive education and employment practice.

Underpinning these shifts, is a strong emphasis on facilitating collaboration with and between stakeholders to forward our mission, and to underpin our operations with a good governance approach. 

An overarching strategic focus of this plan is an increased commitment to measure the impact of our work, to monitor and review the effectiveness of our implementation plan, and to ensure we achieve our objectives and serve our stakeholders, while making the most effective use of our resources.

We look forward to working with all our stakeholders to advance our mission over the coming 5 years. 

View the AHEAD Strategic Plan 2024-28

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Creating Inclusive Environments in Education and Employment for People with Disabilities

East Hall, UCD, Carysfort Avenue, Blackrock, Co Dublin.
T +353 1 592 1467 E ahead@ahead.ie W www.ahead.ie RCN 20025182