The University’s “Inclusive Employment Scheme” recently celebrated another successful year with a lunch for participants, their support workers and Queen’s staff at a lunch hosted and supported by the Equality and Diversity Unit in the Senate Room on 14 June.
Paying tribute to the scheme and its supporters, Director of Human Resources, Sean McGuickin recognised that the scheme has been hailed as “an example of best practice” by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland and the Department for Communities (previously the Department for Employment and Learning).
The scheme currently affords 8 disabled people with a placement in various schools and directorates throughout Queen’s, some of whom are pictured below and is a great opportunity for those who have been unable to get work, or have had to leave work because of a disability, to develop skills, confidence and valuable work experience.
During 2016 the scheme has involved Queen’s working alongside Disability Action, Triangle Housing Association, The Cedar Foundation and Ulster Supported Employment Limited (“USEL”) to offer placements to participants.
Feedback on this year’s scheme has been very positive:
“I will be disappointed when it ends but I am much more confident in my abilities now and less scared of the world of work..” Carole Catling - placement in QUB Research and Enterprise Directorate.
“I found the placement gave me a chance to meet new people, develop new skills and be creative by allowing me to bring my own ideas to the role.” Benjamin Kinnear – placement in QUB Telecommunications (switchboard office).
“Karl and William came to us in January 2016 under the Inclusive Employment Scheme. Both are on different points of the Autism Spectrum. Both are graduates in Computer Science. Karl and William have been able to put their hand to anything which has been asked of them without complaint. We have been impressed with their ability in completing various tasks. I have seen their social skills improve greatly over the past 6 months in their interactions with the team …they both attend our team’s monthly staff meeting which they have found very useful in being aware of what the whole team is doing and helping them to feel very much a part of the team. Karl and William’s personal development has also increased with their participation in acquiring the ECDL qualification. They have applied themselves very well to this and are attaining excellent results in the tests.” Millar Neill (QUB Line Manager, IT Department McClay Library)
Positive feedback has also been received from Terry Parks, Head of the Disability Employment Service in the Department for the Communities who referred to the QUB scheme as:
“….a great example of partnership working between a government body, the local disability sector and a major employer, who in this instance, just happens to be one of our most prestigious education establishments...the staff at Queen's, through their HR team and the respective schools throughout the university, have provided the opportunities and in-work support that will really enhance the employment prospects of many disabled people - and for that, we are all very grateful.”
If you would like any further information regarding the Inclusive Employment Scheme please contact the Equality and Diversity Unit on 02890 973039 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.