THE IRISH ASSOCIATION OF SUPPORTED EMPLOYMENT

by Teresa Mallon, Chairperson, Irish Association of Supported Employment

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The Irish Association of Supported Employment (IASE) is a voluntary organisation which was formed in 1994 with the aim of promoting the development of supported employment in Ireland. The objectives of IASE are:

  • to promote the concept of supported employment in Ireland,
  • to facilitate the exchange of information between interested parties in relation to supported employment,
  • to respond to the training needs of affiliated members,
  • to actively participate in the European Union of Supported Employment, and
  • to assist members with networking and promoting the model of supported employment.

Membership of IASE is open to any individual who is committed to its aims and objectives. The annual membership fee is £10- The board of directors (individuals representative of various disability services throughout Ireland who are committed to the model of supported employment, a person with a disability, a parent of a person with a disability, and an employer) are elected at the Annual General Meeting.

The Association has been active in the promotion and development of the supported employment model of service throughout Ireland. In 1999, IASE was actively involved in submitting a proposal to the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment for the development of a National Supported Employment Programme. In 2000, the National Supported Employment Programme was launched and IASE was again involved with submissions and guidelines for the framework document for the programme. The national programme is now well under way, and IASE continues to play an active role in liaison with the relevant department.

Other areas of the work of the Irish Association of Supported Employment:

  • The Association is a partner with the Open Training College in the two diplomas in supported employment (see article on p. 19).
  • In 1999 IASE was the lead agency in a consortium of services which deliver supported employment in a project to develop strategies to influence policy for the inclusion of supported employment in mainstream delivery (Thematic Group Mainstreaming Project 1999/2000).
  • IASE has identified a need to meet the employment needs of people with a disability in counties Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal. The Association has been instrumental in developing and implementing three best-practice supported employment services in these counties.
  • IASE successfully hosts an annual conference. In 1995 it hosted the Second Conference of the European Union of Supported Employment, in Dublin.

IASE works in close collaboration with the trade union movement, employer organisations, disability groups and organisations, government departments, state training agencies, universities and other training organisations, and bodies who lobby for and address issues concerning supported employment. Peter Cassells, General Secretary of ICTU, attended our 2000 Annual Conference to hear about issues concerning salary scales and professional recognition for persons working in supported employment.

IASE has over 340 members, with four regional branches which meet regularly in a partnership model—with representatives of job coaches from various disability services, FÁS, employer organisations etc. Information, expertise and knowledge are shared in such informal networks, which serve as a useful resource for employers and job coaches.

To become a member of IASE, contact Michael Fleming (tel/fax: 091-752362)