AHEAD’s 2016 WAM

Lensmen Public Relations Photographers were delighted work at the Association of Higher Education, Access and Disability (AHEAD) seminar hosted at the National Art Gallery.

 

Employers “need to take 360º view” of talent pool when hiring.

Potential employers need to take a panoramic view of all the talent available to them when it comes to hiring, according to the Association of Higher Education, Access and Disability (AHEAD).

That was the key message at AHEAD’s 2016 WAM seminar at the National Art Gallery this morning, attended by an audience of employers, politicians, academics and people with disabilities. The event also welcomed AHEAD’s new publication which is a step by step guide for employers to assist them on their diversity journey and ensure graduates with disabilities are included in the workplace.

Speakers at today’s event included Margaret Murphy O’Mahony TD Fianna Fail spokesperson for Disabilities, Ann Heelan Executive Director of AHEAD, Leslee O’Loughlin HR Manager official partners of AHEAD, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Pat Hoey, Access Manager, University of Limerick and Professor Michael Shevlin, School of Education Trinity College Dublin.

Employers must go the extra mile.

The issue of workplace equality was also prominent at the AHEAD conference, with Enterprise Rent-A-Car’s Leslee O’Loughlin stating that all Irish employers – in both public and private sectors – must go the extra mile to ensure that people with disabilities are hired on merit and given access to the same quality of work and life as all other employees.

“Just like AHEAD, one of Enterprise’s own core principles is that people with disabilities should have equal access in all aspects of life, including education and employment,” said Ms. O’Loughlin. “Equality is not only central to our employment culture, it is central to our company’s foundation as we strive and continue to provide a fair and inclusive workplace.”

Fianna Fail’s spokesperson on disabilities Margaret Murphy O Mahoney who was there welcomed the publication and the initiative of the seminar. “ I am delighted to be able to be here today and meet the organisers of this event. It is so important that engagement and discussion is held with all parties and the message is translated across the employment sector.  I will work with AHEAD to ensure equality in education and the workforce.”

Also speaking at the event was AHEAD Assistant Director Mary Quirke, who said that there are almost 11,000 students with disabilities in higher education across Ireland. These disabilities include blindness, deafness as well as cognitive learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

 “This is a large talent pool”

“Although the education system has really opened up and now caters for people with all disabilities, it is the mindset of recruiters that sometimes lets our graduate down,” she said. “We need to ensure that employers recognise this talent pool for what it is, talent. Our graduate may not have gone on Erasmus or J1 trips during their summers in college but they have their own talents and attributes which we believe shine through by their ability to persevere and their refusal to accept anything but equality.” Stated Ms. Mary Quirke, Assistant Director AHEAD.

The seminar highlighted a number of suggestions for employers that would enhance inclusiveness in the workplace, including:

–       Providing leadership and plan for positive change to the disability work culture;

–       Creating an environment where people feel supported and equally valued, especially when they disclose a disability;

–       Supporting and encouraging employers with a disability to remain in work;

–       Reviewing and updating personnel policies to ensure they not only comply with the legal obligation, but go one step further;

–       Planning for an accessible work environment, for all.

‘Connected Voices in Learning’ poem a highlight.

Perhaps the highlight of this morning’s seminar was an emotional poetry recital by students from the Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown, entitled ‘Connected voices in Learning’. The piece, which received an exuberant applause, highlighted the need for equality and the importance of keeping our eyes open to injustices within education or the workforce.

For further information please contact Aideen Ginnell on (01) 668 9099 / 0877612832 or aginnell@cullencommunications.ie.

About Enterprise Holdings.

Enterprise Holdings and its affiliate Enterprise Fleet Management, together offer a total transportation solution, including extensive car rental and car-sharing services, truck rental, corporate fleet management and retail car sales. Combined, these businesses witnessed the company’s global operation grow by 8.1% more than $20.9 billion, increased its overall fleet size to almost 1.9 million vehicles, and expanded their network to include more than 9,600 fully staffed locations during fiscal year 2016 (ended July 31).

About Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

In Ireland, Enterprise Rent-A-Car is a specialist in the provision of replacement vehicles and courtesy cars, which are relied upon in the event of a breakdown or vehicle incident.

St. Louis-based Enterprise Holdings, the largest car rental service provider in the world, operates the Enterprise Rent-A-Car brand through its regional subsidiaries. Enterprise started in Ireland in 1997 and has rapidly expanded. With 28 locations across Ireland and over 200 employees, Enterprise’s commitment to service and value, such as its weekend special promotions, business and commercial offerings continue to see the business grow.

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