WALK PEER Career Discovery Celebration

WALK PEER Career Discovery Celebration

20 February 2017

Students celebrate Career Discovery achievements

Senior students from St. Brigid’s and St. Ita’s schools celebrated their Career Discovery achievements at an awards event in the Boyne Valley Hotel and Country Club, Drogheda on Friday, 10th February

The students were participants in a Career Discovery Programme, a collaboration between WALK PEER, St. Ita’s school in Drogheda and St. Brigid’s school in Dundalk, which is aimed at raising career prospects for young people with additional educational needs. While completing modules in Career Preparation, Entrepreneurial Skills and Work Experience, the students are supported by local businesses to highlight their skills and talents in real work environments, leading to part time paid employment.

More than 100 people attended the event, representing families, school staff, elected representatives, local businesses, Department of Social Protection (who are currently funding the initiative), Intreo, Louth Meath Education and Training Board, National Council for Special Education, Louth Leader Partnership, Department of Health, and the National Disability Authority.

Guest of Honour, Finian McGrath TD, Minister for Disability Issues, was met by Mayor of Drogheda, Oliver Tully, and presented certificates to the students, complimenting them on their achievements. Addressing the students and assembled guests, Minister McGrath said that he and the government are fully committed to implementing the “Comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities” and raising the number of people with disabilities working in the public service from 3% to 6%. He said it was important to aim high and see how far we can get.

Students, Carrie Sellick from St. Brigid’s, and Cian O Rourke from St. Ita’s told the group how they have grown in confidence through the programme and enjoyed getting out of school to get work experience and a part time job in DV8 and Tesco Extra respectively. Paul Keaveney, Head of ecurity in Tesco Extra, addressed the crowd to explain why Tesco supports the programme and how the students bring added value to their business. Tony Campion HR Manager with Coca-Cola, spoke of the support needs of businesses to address the challenge of employing people with disabilities and the importance of matching people to roles to provide sustainability.

The school Principals, Patricia Ward and Micheál Moley, agreed that the collaboration with WALK PEER in delivering the Career Discovery Programme had a positive impact on the ambitions of their senior students, but also on the junior classes, who now have new role models, and contributed to addressing some of the causes of mental health challenges faced by today’s society.

Minister McGrath, concluded the event by telling the assembled group that he had secured €2M in the budget for Pre-Activation projects, like WALK PEER, to help young people with disabilities to get into employment and contribute to Irish society.

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