June 2009

Right now I’m at the second of 3 Get Ready for Work seminars we’re running this year (in UL, DIT & NUIG – huge thanks to all the staff in those colleges and all the members of GCI/ Graduate Careers Ireland) and I thought it might be good to explain a little more about the background and the point of these workshops.

The first Get Ready for Work seminar was run 2 years ago in NCI over 4 days and the point was to try and ensure that students with disabilities were as well prepared as possible for interview and the labour market. It had been and still is our experience that students with disabilities often encounter difficulties in getting work. Not always, but often. The work GET AHEAD does has a couple of strands to it and this is just one element. Right now Get Ready for Work is a 2 day session focussed on giving people extra preparation, and yes, extra advantage. It’s a way of counteracting some of the disadvantages (lack of work experience, bias or prejudice in interview, lack of specific information or support) that disabled people still incur (not the only way, but one. And no, I’m not accepting that disadvantage as a given, rather, I’m trying to challenge it in several different ways and this is one) In short, the better prepared a person is, the better an interview will go, the better an interview goes, the less impact any bias or prejudice can have. Preparation is key.

Extra careers support when you’re finished college can be expensive, although there are some opportunities available to access free support – this is another! So what we do is a day of careers skills training – career planning, career management, career development offered by members of the GCI (Graduate Careers Ireland) And on day 2 I talk about all the rights disabled people have in law, in terms of supports, grants, entitlements. I also talk about the issue of disclosure. In the afternoon, there’s a chance to talk to a careers advisor about your CV and to have a mock interview, with an employer and get feedback on your performance on that interview. It’s rare that people spend 2 whole days on their career development, even though work, careers, are a huge part of our lives. I continuously evaluate this program and every bit of feedback counts. Whether it will always be a program that people want or need is debatable but for now, it will continue to be a part of our work.

NCI are running another great event called Think2Act. This is an excellent (and free) opportunity. The main theme of the day is change: changing the recession mindset across all ages. More information can be found on their website.

May was the busiest month on the blog since it was launched, which is absolutely fantastic 🙂 I just need to go figure out what made it this busy – I can identify a couple of factors, but really want to keep this up and keep doing whatever works. Obviously the key factor is all of you who read: thank you so much for stopping by, and please, do say hi, do let me know if there’s stuff you’d like to see more of, do keep reading.

The other thing that has given me a huge boost, is the fluffy link from Damien! Thank you!  Great to get this and a big hello to  everyone who’s dropped in since then 🙂