NCBI (National Council for the Blind of Ireland) have today welcomed the rollout of a new €5million funding stream aimed at supporting the employment of people with disabilities in the voluntary and community sector.
June Tinsley, NCBI Head of Advocacy and Communications said: “This scheme is very much welcomed as we begin to come through the light at the end of the Covid tunnel. Every avenue must be explored to increase the labour force participation of people who are blind or vision impaired. According to Census 2016, only 24.4% of people who are blind or vision impaired were active in the labour market which is 10-15% less than our closest European neighbours. While the numbers have slowly risen since, there has undoubtedly been a drop off since the pandemic began -as there has been right across society. It is imperative that blind or vision impaired job seekers aren’t forgotten about as society re-emerges from this”
The Dormant Accounts Funding by the Department of Social Protection was recently launched by Minister Heather Humphreys. It will allow voluntary and community sector employers apply for up to €200,000 to focus exclusively on improving employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
In addition to the state supports available to employers wishing to employ a person with a disability, NCBI also offer support and advice to employers who wish to or already have employed a person who is blind or vision impaired.
Ms Tinsley added “While some initiatives and supports already exist, people who are blind or vision impaired are still under-represented in the labour market. NCBI have supported our service users in their transition from education to employment for many years. We also provide support and advice for employers. We’re hopeful with the introduction of this new funding stream that the numbers of people who are blind and vision impaired in employment will begin to grow again”.