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


Employer FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of frequently asked questions by our employers who are thinking about joining The WAM Programme. If your question is not answered here, you can contact WAM by emailing wam@ahead.ie. 

 How long are WAM placements for?

We ask that employers offer a full time, graduate role for a minimum of 6 months. Contracts can be any duration over and above the six months and can even be for permanent roles. WAM will support the employer for the initial 6 months of the contract.

 Who pays the WAM graduate?

Employers pay the graduate at the same rate they would typically pay a mainstream graduate for the role that is being offered. This is determined by the employer, not WAM. In 2002, the average WAM placement salary was €33,000. The salaries ranged from 26k to 36k.  

Grants are available through the Reasonable Accommodation Fund from the DSP to private employers in the event that any adjustments or equipment are needed. The employer must apply for these grants themselves in conjunction with the graduate. WAM can offer support to the employer in applying for this funding.   

 Are the roles full time or part time?

All WAM placements offered by an employer must be full time. This can range from 35 hours – 45 hours per week depending on the employer.

 What kind of roles should an employer offer?

Employers have advertised a wide variety of roles for graduates from all disciplines. These roles could be IT, Finance, Business, Law, HR, Analytics, Engineering, Administration, Social Policy, Event Management, Customer Service etc.

 What type of graduates do you have on your database?

On our WAMWorks Database, there are students and graduates from all disciplines. Students and graduates with a disability self-register onto the database where they enter some educational information. From this, WAM can get an overview of the type of graduates that we have, however it’s not exact as information may not be updated by the graduates if they achieved additional qualifications after registering. 

 Is there a membership fee?

WAM receives its funding from the Department of Social Protection (DSP) to provide approx. 45 graduate placements a year.

At present, WAM does not charge a membership fee for the support we offer. The membership currently consists of the employer paying the graduate a salary. WAM offers employers free disability awareness training, interview training and pre-placement training as part of taking on a WAM graduate. In addition, all WAM employers will be invited to our wider training events which take place 4 times a year.

Employers who are not facilitating placements can attend our online WAMinars for free and if they wish to avail of specific training by AHEAD and WAM will be charged for the service.

 What is the success rate of graduates securing employment after WAM?

From research conducted amongst graduates who were placed on WAM placements from 2012-2023, 81% of graduates secured full time employment as a direct result of their WAM placement. 40% of these remained with the same employer. Only 9% were still looking for work opportunities a year after they finished their WAM placement.

 What type of disabilities do your graduates have?

The majority of graduates placed on WAM placements typically have either a mental health difficulty, specific learning difficulty (i.e. dyslexia), physical disability or significant ongoing illness. We also have experience in working with other disabilities such as autism, deaf/hard of hearing, blind/visually impaired, acquired brain injury, dyspraxia, developmental disorders, neurological conditions and ADD or ADHD.

 Will I know the graduate's disability at the interview stage?

No. When applications are sent to the employer for a role that was advertised with WAM, the employer receives a spreadsheet with the name and contact details of all applicants and what interview accommodations/adjustments are needed for the recruitment process. WAM do not know the nature of the disability the applicant has at the time of applying and nor is it asked.

Should a graduate be successful in the interview process, WAM will carry out a needs assessment with the graduate where WAM explores disclosure of disability to the employer with the graduate. 

 What is the process?

  • Employers meet with WAM to discuss the potential role available. This role must be ring-fenced for graduates with disabilities applying through The WAM Programme. 
  • WAM undertakes all advertising through our WAMWorks Database. Graduates must apply for the role via this database. 
  • Employers conduct all CV screening and interviewing in line with their mainstream practices ensuring reasonable accommodation is put in place for graduates who have specified them. AHEAD can provide disability equality or pre-interview training if required.
  • When successful candidates are identified by the employer, WAM undertakes a Needs Assessment process in order to identify any workplace supports required by the graduate in line with the Employment Equality Act. 
  • WAM provides pre-placement training both face-to-face and online with the graduate, manager and mentors prior to the commencement of all placements.
  • WAM supports all parties involved in the placement process for the initial 6-months of the placement. 

You can download our brochure for more information.

 What is a needs assessment?

The purpose of the needs assessment is to identify what accommodations the candidate may require, if any, to satisfactorily complete the work placement they are about to undertake.

The WAM needs assessment is a consultative process which involves liaison between a designated assessor (a member of the WAM team), the WAM participant and on behalf of the employer, usually the participating manager/supervisor. 

The recommendations, which outline any workplace supports, where required, is signed off by all three parties, the WAM participant, the participating manager/supervisor and the assessor. Once recommended supports are approved the employer, supported by the WAM team, must make every effort to facilitate their implementation.  

If the employer cannot facilitate the implementation of the supports identified in line with employment legalisation, the placement cannot go ahead.

 Who looks after the graduate on placement?

When on placement, the graduate will be assigned a direct line-manager who will be responsible for carrying out induction training, assigning tasks and duties for the graduate to complete, giving feedback and opportunity for growth and development.  The graduate will also be assigned a mentor who works in the company and is there to support the graduate during their placement by helping them settle into the workplace and talk about further career opportunities.

WAM will check in via email with all parties on placement, this includes the graduate, the manager and mentor on a regular basis to see if supports are being put in place and to see how things are getting on.

WAM supports all parties involved in the placement process for the duration of a 6-month placement or for the initial 6-months of longer duration placements. 

 What is the mentoring about?

Mentoring is a people-focused development process aimed at assisting the graduate with the transition into the organisation. It also aims to facilitate learning and development and to offer guidance and support to the participant. The mentor acts a role model for the mentee.

During the recruitment process, the employer issues an in-house call for mentors for the WAM programme. Mentors are then selected and put in place before the placements begin. Both the mentor and mentee receive comprehensive training on the mentoring process.

 Is there any funding or grants available?

The Department of Social Protection (DSP) offer a variety of grants and schemes in relation to the employment of people with disabilities called the Reasonable Accommodation Fund. 

These grants and schemes can benefit an employer by assisting with the partial or total cost of a reasonable accommodation for the workplace. 

You can find out more by visiting this section on our website - click here


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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