Thursday, 27 June 2019

Questions (248)

Thomas Pringle


248. Deputy Thomas Pringle asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection if her attention has been drawn to the relatively low uptake in the disability awareness training grant and the issues businesses are having with the application process, which is perceived as burdensome (details supplied); the efforts she will take to increase the uptake in the grant by businesses; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [27321/19]

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Written answers (Question to Employment)

Through the Disability Awareness Support Scheme (DASS), my department provides financial assistance to private sector organisations to undertake staff development in order to assist the integration of people with disabilities into the workforce and to eliminate mistaken perceptions about the capacity of people with disabilities to be productive and effective employees and colleagues.

This scheme is open to all organisations in the private sector and is available for raising the awareness of personnel at all levels and in all occupations. The DASS is suitable for the following:

- Organisations interested in employing or retaining people with disabilities;

- Organisations interested in promoting the employment of people with disabilities.

There is no pre-approved list of DASS training providers. However the trainer/facilitator proposed by the applicant organisation for this grant should:

- Have a training qualification and/or relevant experience;

- Have a strong social model perspective. This means that the trainer should focus on how the physical and social barriers in society can disable an individual;

- Have an extensive knowledge of disability policy issues. The trainer should be up to date with current developments in the disability sector in Ireland;

- Have experience or awareness of disability and have developed their training programme in consultation with people with disabilities.

Further advice and help can be sourced from the following publications produced by the National Disability Authority (NDA):

Guidelines for Purchasers of Disability Equality Training

It is important to note that DASS is a demand led scheme in that expenditure arises in response to applications received. The Department has noted that the uptake of this grant has been low and intends to commence a focused policy review of the scheme along with the Reasonable Accommodation Fund (RAF) in 2019.