Budget 2017 included a new measure for a “pre-activation” programme for people with disabilities. The programme will bring participants with a disability who are not ready for work without further assistance, closer to the labour market through engagement in training and personal development activities. Its focus will be on young people with disabilities (aged 16 – 26) who require that additional help to assist in their transition from school to post-school life. It is envisaged that the programme will support community and voluntary groups to deliver a range of activities such as the development of participant’s soft skills, (for example using public transport independently), work preparation, placements and sampling that are designed to assist people with disabilities to obtain and sustain employment.
The operational arrangements of this programme are currently being assessed and will take into account the recommendations of a working group established under the Comprehensive Employment Strategy chaired by the NDA and comprising of the Departments of Education and Skills, Health and Social Protection, together with the HSE. The group was established to develop an effective co-ordinated policy approach and interdepartmental protocols to assist individuals with disabilities, including those who require a high level of support, to obtain and retain employment. This working group is due to report by the end of the year and this will assist in determining decisions relating to the provision of services of this nature at a national level.