Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2648, 2650)

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin


2648. Deputy Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the status of the roll-out of the Ability programme; the projects that have received funding through the programme; if she will provide a description of each; the amount of funding provided to the programme to date in 2019; the provision of funding to each project; if there is a waiting list of projects seeking funding; the estimated cost of increasing funding by 20%; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [32875/19]

View answer

Kathleen Funchion


2650. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection the estimated cost of increasing funding to the ability programme by 20%. [33885/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 2648 and 2650 together.

Ability is a pre-activation programme for young people with disabilities. The funding for this programme will amount to around €16 million over a three year period and is being provided jointly under the EU's ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) Operational Programme, 2014-2020 and the Irish Exchequer. The programme will support over 2,600 young people with disabilities aged between 15–29 years of age. Pobal have been contracted by the Department to manage the programme.

The aim of the Ability Programme is to help bring young people with disabilities who are not work-ready closer to the labour market through engagement in training and personal development activities, which would be followed by an incremental exposure to work. The programme is being delivered by 27 community and voluntary groups from around the country, selected on foot of a competitive process. As the total funding available has been allocated to these 27 groups, there is no waiting list of projects for further funding on the current programme.

The projects being funded have been designed to assist young people in their transition from school to further education and employment. This will be undertaken using person-centred, case management approaches that support participants to achieve their desired employment goals.

The projects have commenced delivering their services for the young people they have identified. A programme evaluation, aimed at evaluating the extent to which the programme has met its stated policy objectives, is being undertaken. A contractor (Quality Matters) has been appointed by Pobal to undertake this work. This will include an interim review. Pobal have delivered a number of training workshops to support the organisations in terms of the monitoring and reporting requirements of their projects, with further events to be held as needed. In addition, Pobal have rolled out a bespoke IT based CRM system to give a more up to date position of what is happening on the ground.

A full list of the 27 projects being funded, their funding amounts and associated activities are presented in tabular form.

To date, €8.8 million has been provided to fund the Ability programme. This includes the drawdown of funding to date by the 27 successful organisations for Year 1 of the programme (1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019) and 70% of Year 2 (1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020). A service fee to Pobal for the development of the programme including IT development from the initial call for applications in late 2017 and for the on-going management of the Programme is also included in this figure.

The estimated extra cost of increasing funding for the Ability programme by 20% would be €3.2 million, however, it should be noted that this programme is jointly funded by the EU and the Irish Exchequer.

I hope this clarifies the issue for the Deputy.

Table 1: Organisations, location, target participant numbers, funding awarded and description of the service

Organisation Legal Name




Description of the service/model of support to be provided

Ak Inspired Ability Company Limited By Guarantee




To fund the Inspired community project for all young adults with Intellectual Disabilities (ID) in Tralee, Co. Kerry. They will support the continued education of young adults with ID who have left school. Driven by participants’ own self-articulated interests, they develop a curriculum of classes that target both practical and socio-emotional skills. To fund 3 full time posts; Project Leader, Project Course Coordinator, Facilitator.

Blossom Ireland Community Inclusion




To fund the Blossom Teen Development Programme (BTDP) programme designed to prepare teenagers with an intellectual disability (ID) for life after school. The programme will focus on identifying the skills they need to support them in their future. A Local Area Co-ordinator (LAC) will work with each teen and their family to help plan for their transition from child to adult services. It will fund two full-time posts from the start of the programme, a Local Area Coordinator & Education Programme Co-ordinator. A second Local Area Co-ordinator will be employed full time in year 3 due anticipated additional caseload. In addition, nine part time facilitators and three part time teen mentors will be funded.

Central Remedial Clinic, CRC




To fund the development of pathways through education, which will support adults with varying disabilities from the ages of 16 to 29 years of age. Total direct costs to be funded include a full time Project Co-ordinator, 2 Human Rights Officer (30 hrs per week), 2 part time liaison officers (20 hrs per week).

Cill Dara Ar Aghaidh Cuideachta Faoi Theorainn Rathaiochta




To fund the provision of person centred supports for 40 young people with a disability between 16 and 19 years who are no longer in education or employment, by offering career guidance supports to help them develop and pursue progression routes based on their needs and potential, and by engaging with employers in County Kildare. The project will fund a Project Worker and Employer Engagement Worker position.

Co Wexford Community Workshop (New Ross) Company Limited By Guarantee




To fund the facilitation of school leavers with intellectual disabilities across counties Waterford, Wexford and Kilkenny to access community based opportunities which will minimize the necessity for the target group to require full time access to adult day service. Direct costs including 3 full time school leaver facilitators.

Cope Foundation




To fund a service to offer young people who attend Cope Foundation's adult day services, who have expressed a wish to have a job. The service will be delivered in an individualised, person centred way and offer: vocational profiling and guidance, job clubs, courses, personal development, work placements, internships and real paid jobs. Ability@Work will adapt the five stage model of supported employment to enable people reach their employment goals.

Down Syndrome Ireland




To fund the development of a bespoke education and training programme in twelve locations for adults with Down syndrome to prepare them for the workplace. This will include a progressive work placement programme developed with corporate partners with the goal of supporting programme participants to enter into long-term meaningful employment. This will also include the development and delivery of an essential skills for employment programme comprising an adult literacy, numeracy and IT programme, a decision-making / active social responsibility programme and a personal development programme and pre-employment training.

Dublin City University




To fund and promote the employability of young people with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 29 years through the provision of 1-2-1 intensive engagement support for students with intellectual disability to move into a position to avail of University provision. Direct staff costs include a Project Manager, Occupational Therapist and part-time tutor and career advisor.

Dublin South City Partnership Company Limited By Guarantee




To fund the increased level of integrated multi-agency service provision to the target group. The project will engage with and deliver a programme over three years in three main location hubs in the South City. The proposed Hub locations will be Inner City, Ballyfermot Cherry Orchard and Crumlin. Direct costs funded include the employment of two guidance officers who will have a full time caseload and one project co-ordinator who will also hold a part time caseload of clients as well as having an overall management/co-ordination role.

Fingal Leader Partnership Company Limited By Guarantee




To provide 30 young people with intellectual disabilities or mental health conditions in North Dublin with individually tailored paths to employment or employability. Direct costs include the employment of 2 employment support workers, one of whom will be allotted additional co-ordination responsibilities.

Forum Connemara Company Limited By Guarantee




To fund the establishment of an Ability Programme entitled Cumas Chonamara to support the progression of young people with a disability living in the Conamara Municipal district. The Programme will develop & implement innovative models of activation using a case management approach, designed to meet gaps in employment, pre-employment or progression for people with a disability aged between 15 and 29 years of age. Four posts are being directly funded, namely a co-ordinator and 3 employment facilitators.

I.W.A. Company Limited By Guarantee




To fund the support of young adults with physical disabilities aged 18-29 who have left school and are committed to seeking employment and improving job-seeking skills via three regional hubs. IWA Employment Coaches will provide individual coaching, support and information tailored to each person. For each participant a detailed person-centered plan will be developed. Direct staffing includes a Project Manager and 3 Employment Co-ordinators.

Ird Duhallow Company Limited By Guarantee




To fund the delivery of a programme of one to one supports and tailored training to 90 young people to improve their pathways to work through building the participant’s confidence, independence, inherent skills and talents. To fund 3 f/t Youth Disability Engagement Officers, one each for Duhallow, SECAD and Ballyhoura.

Knockanrawley Resource Centre




The proposal targets 40 young people between the ages of 16-29 in the South Tipperary area with intellectual, physical and sensory disabilities. The project also intends to target supports to young people with disabilities experiencing mental health conditions. Participants will be enabled to develop the skills to progress to further education, training and/or employment. Two posts are being funded, namely a project co-ordinator and a jobs coach.

Limerick Youth Service




To fund the Limerick Ability Project to target young people 15-24 years in the Limerick Metropolitan district, in need of employability support, who have; a diagnosis of ASD, a mental health condition, a learning disability or a hidden disability. The project will fund a Project Coordinator and 2 Youth Work Mentors.

Northside Partnership Company Limited By Guarantee




To fund the 'Employment Hub', staffed by 3 specialists, to support people with ASD on their journey to employment as well as building the capacity of relevant stakeholders to better serve the needs of clients and employees with disabilities. This project is located in Dublin 17 and will service clients from all over Dublin, with priority given to clients from Northside Partnership catchment area; disadvantaged areas.

Offaly Integrated Local Development Company Limited By Guarantee




To fund the Stepping Stones project to address the need for targeted supports for a range of young people who are unable to progress personally, vocationally and often socially in County Offaly. The project will support social / community integration and increase capacity for personal / vocational progression, both at one-to-one and group level. The project will fund a full-time project manager and a full time mental health vocational worker.

Peter Bradley Foundation Company Limited By Guarantee




To fund 250 individuals with Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI), aged 18 to 29 years, wishing to access employment, training or education opportunities. These individuals have support needs as a result of their ABI which prevent them from accessing these opportunities independently. Six posts are being directly funded, namely 4 community facilitators and 2 senior occupational therapists.

Roscommon Integrated Development Company Limited By Guarantee




To fund the Mentors/ Life Coaches to support young people with a range of disabilities to develop person-centred transition support plans. The cohort of participants that will be supported under this project will fall into a number of categories: those who will need support at QQI levels 2,3 and 4 and those who may be interested in progressing onto QQI levels 5,6 and 7.

Specialisterne Ireland Company Limited By Guarantee




To fund the support of young adults with autism (18 -29) who while having third level qualifications or other suitable qualifications fail to achieve employment. The project will be delivered in Dublin and Cork or in participating colleges and universities and work with suitable partner employers.

St. Cronans Association Company Limited By Guarantee




The ROOTS (Reaching Out Open To Success) project will support 24 young people aged 20-29 years with mild-moderate intellectual disability and/or autism living in Laois, Offaly and North Tipperary. The project will support people who have finished Rehabilitative Training to progress to entering the workplace and/or to assume a meaningful and sustainable social role in their own community. The project will be delivered by St Cronan’s Association in partnership with the HSE. It will fund a Project Coordinator post and a Jobs Coach post.

The Blanchardstown Area Partnership Company Limited By Guarantee




To fund young people between the ages of 15-29 in the Fingal area (countywide) with a mild or moderate intellectual disability into meaningful volunteering or work placements within the Community & Voluntary Sector. The project will recruit young people as they are about to transition from post primary, third level or special schools. Four posts are being directly funded, namely an 'employment liaison and placement officer', 'recruitment and assessment specialist' and 2 'job coaches'.

Tipperary Regional Youth Service Company Limited By Guarantee




To fund a programme targeting young men and women aged between 15 and 29 living in Tipperary who are furthest from the labour market, and who have a disability which is affecting their participation in society and employment. It will fund 3 full time staff: a Lead Project Worker, a Project Worker and a Project Support Worker.

Walkinstown Association for People with an Intellectual Disability Company Limited by Guarantee




To fund the support of young people with special educational needs aged 15-24 within three special schools' settings to develop their employment aspirations, identify their career goals and experience work in the open labour market. 4 posts are being funded including a Project Co-ordinator and 3 career and employment facilitators.

Walkinstown Green Social Enterprises Limited




To fund the REAL Project (Reaching Employment Ambitions in Life) to support young adults (18+) who have Intellectual Disabilities, Autism and Complex Needs and are not in employment, education, or training, to progress towards employment in the open labour market. Through the "Supported Employment model", delivered by professional Job Coaches, participants will develop their own vocational profile and personal progression plans before taking up a series of appropriate work experience placements of their choosing within the Social Enterprises. The project will fund 2 full-time job coaches and 2 part-time trainers.

West Cork Development Partnership Company Limited By Guarantee




To fund a person centred planning approach for individuals aged 19-29 years who present with diagnosed mental health difficulties, the aim of the programme is to develop job readiness skills in the form of training, personal development, volunteering whilst assisting the individual using the Discovery process to access their own skills & develop their own unique abilities. 2 full time personal development officers are being funded.

Wexford Local Development




To fund the Wexford Local Development Ability project to target 100 young people (aged 16 – 29) with an intellectual disability who are not job ready to move closer to the labour market, by providing them with access to work placement opportunities and tailor made education and training programmes including employment supports. It will fund two full time Employment Officer positions.