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


The WAM programme at AHEAD are running a free training webinar aimed at current WAM employers and potential WAM employers. 

When: Friday, October 21st 2022 from 11.30am - 1.00pm. 

What: Awareness of Visual Impairment and Blindness in the Workplace

More About WAM: The WAM Programme is the transition to employment initiative of AHEAD. It offers graduates with disabilities the benefit of a 6-month minimum fully paid and mentored work internships with high profile employers. WAM was established in 2005 and, to date, have placed over 600 graduates with both private and public sector employers. 

Event Information 

According to the 2016 Irish census, 1 in 7 people have at least one disability in Ireland. However, people with disabilities are 1/2 as likely as their peers to be in employment (Government of Ireland, 2015). The European Commission Country Report for Ireland 2019 found that Ireland has one of the lowest employment rates for people with disabilities and has one of the highest gaps between people with and without disabilities in employment.

Students who are blind or visually impaired are significantly underrepresented in higher education, representing only 1.6% of the total disability student population in Ireland, however, this is an 8% increase in the cohort since the last report (AHEAD, 2021). In the past three years of The WAM Programme, graduates who are blind or visually impaired commencing a paid, mentored work placement with leading employers, represented nearly 7%.

So, what can we do to improve Ireland’s low employment and education rate of those with a visual impairment? Come along to our next WAMinar to find out.

The webinar will commence with a presentation from National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) followed by real world experience from activist Bobbie Hickey.

The webinar will close with a questions and answers session for attendees.

 About our Speakers

Shane Merritt and Martina Melvan, Employment, Training and Academia, NCBI.

NCBI, Ireland’s national sight loss agency, mission is to transform the lives of people who are blind or vision impaired. They work with children and adults across the country with a range of programmes all designed to ensure the individual can live life confidently and independently. 

Inspired by the determination to overcome any obstacle, NCBI transforms the lives of people who are blind or vision impaired to deliver tangible change to today’s needs. They offer timely information and support, relevant technology and innovative programmes to sustain those with a vision impairment in education, in the workplace, and in wider society.

Joining our webinar are Shane Merritt and Martina Melvan from the Employment, Training and Academia team at NCBI.

Bobbie Hickey, Policy Executive Graduate, IBEC

Bobbie Hickey is a Policy Executive Graduate at IBEC, Ireland’s largest lobby and business representative group. Bobbie is well known on social media for having shared her experiences of living with a visual impairment. Bobbie will share with us her real-world experiences of navigating the world of employment as a graduate, the supports she has received from her employer, her hopes for the future and to share what she believes employers should know about hiring those with visual impairments.


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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