Press release -
Council leads the way with first ever Labour Market Partnership Disability Support Event
Local companies and training providers came together for Mid and East Antrim’s Labour Market Partnership ‘Engaging with Disability Talent’ event at the Tullyglass House Hotel.
This event forms part of a large programme of work instigated by the newly formed Mid and East Antrim Labour Market Partnership which is led by Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.
The purpose of this event was to provide guidance for employers to help navigate the support systems available, meet employability agencies and gain advice on how to recruit, maintain and progress people with disabilities, helping to ensure the world of work is inclusive and accessible to all.
Deputy Mayor, Councillor Beth Adger MBE said: “I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to all companies who attended the event and whose work contributes to establishing wealth and jobs in the Borough and creating a vibrant local economy.
“I hope that local employers found this event informative and useful and that they will be able to identify new opportunities to support those with disabilities, creating diverse and thriving workplaces across the borough.”
A recent study by Ulster University Economic Policy Centre highlighted that the disability employment gap is widening. The study noted that disabled people represented a smaller proportion of overall labour inputs in Northern Ireland than in the rest of the UK, with disabled people accounting for 8% of total hours worked in NI compared to 12% in the UK. The LMP is keen to empower disabled people to enter a more diverse range of occupations and provide support to employers in order to assist upskilling opportunities.
Speakers at the event included Stephen McGlew, Department of the Communities who outlined what the Department is doing to help those with disabilities and health conditions overcome barriers to gaining, retaining and progressing in employment. He also provided an insight into the development of a new Disability and Work Strategy for Northern Ireland.
He said: “Disability is a priority area for our Department. Through a new Disability and Work Strategy, we hope to set a long-term commitment to raising the rate of employment for those with disabilities, working closely with Employers, central and local government, and those with lived experience of disability. Events such today, offer an opportunity to enhance partnership working, and the sharing of awareness, best practice advice, and support. We can’t tackle this issue in isolation.”
Other speakers included the Equality Commission for NI who highlighted employers’ legal responsibilities to employing disabled people and the support provide to employers by ECNI.
Employers also heard from disability employment organisations, NOW Group, Orchardville and Cedar, and the critical support they provide to employers and disabled job seekers. They also provided case studies of disabled people experience of finding employment through different interventions with employers. Employers also had the opportunity to meet with a range of disability employment organisations who were exhibiting at the event.
LMP joint Chairs, Edyth Dunlop MBE, Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment and Norman Sterritt, Triangle Progression to Employment Service in closing the event, highlighted the importance of organisations/sectors working in partnership and supporting employers to recruit, maintain and progress disabled people into their workforces – it makes good business sense.
For further information on the forthcoming programmes and events under the MEA LMP Action Plan, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org