Looking forward to the upcoming Leave No One Behind conference taking place next Monday in the National University of Ireland Maynooth .

This one day conference asks how public employment services and career guidance models can best meet the long term needs of those most distant from the labour .

The conference will be the first of a number of events organised as part of the ACA PES , A Collaborative Approach to building a Public Employment Service project. funded under the Irish Research Council’s COALESCE  programme .

As Ireland reaches an acute skills shortage will near full employment in all sector Employers and Public Employment Services organisations are starting to look at the talent pool that exists among persons with disabilities . Regretfully this new found interest in this talent pool only arises due to the lack of workers current available in the Irish Labour Market .

On this platform we have highlighted the talent that exists within both the ASD community and others who are facing mental health issues and we have advised employers  that they are missing an opportunity to meet their firms skills needs by failing to employ people with disabilities .

While the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection has a input into this conference their efforts regarding sourcing employment for persons with disabilities are derisory

Only this week the Minister responsible for this department commissioned yet another expensive report into ” the cost of disabilities in Ireland “

Costs associated with disabilities can be overcome in many cases if the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection managed their employment services responsibilities to jobseekers who have a disability by securing employment for this talented group.

Rather than carrying out yet another report to gather dust on the shelf in the vaults of the Department the Minister should  look at her own employment services operations

In 2008 the department had nearly 650 Employment Services staff dealing with a live register figure of 17% today the Department has nearly 650 Employment/Placement services staff  as Ireland reaches full employment .

Furthermore ,the Minster outsourced engagement with long Term unemployment persons away from the Department’s Employment Services Division to the private sector at a cost of  50 million euro.

If the Minister wants to find skilled labour for employers and wants to find jobs for persons with disabilities the first step in that direction is simple .The Minister must reassign the 650 placement services officers to a work on a comprehensive action plan to be rolled out across the country with a range of supports that will ensure that 1000s of people with disabilities who want to work find the right role for them.

Monday’s conference is focused on ” developing a strong labour force … .. with particular focus on those most distant from the labour “ Minister Doherty has a practical solution to reach this goal within her own department .

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