LINK Conference, Oct 4th 2012, Ghent: Call for Papers now open!


‘We can’t go back, not now!… Not now‘ (Tintin)

Firstly we are delighted to confirm that the LINK Conference 2012 will take place on October 4th 2012 in Ghent, Belgium.  The conference will address the topic of transition from higher education to work for students with disabilities and in particular will analyse the individual roles of students themselves, the higher education institutions and the employers.
Are you an academic, employer, policy maker or student with a disability and do you have a concern or some strong opinions about work and transition to work? We would like you to share your experiences. If you are interested in submitting a paper for presentation at the conference please download the full call for papers here and follow the instructions.

All proposals need to be submitted on a proposal submission form to by April 15th 2012. Booking for the event will commence later in the year and we will be in touch to notify interested parties.
Don’t forget to spread the word and get your colleagues to become a LINK member free of charge by visiting

I went along with Niamh to the first Get Ready for Work seminar of 2011 the week before last in Dundalk. It was my first time going to one of these seminars and I have to say, for a day at work, I really enjoyed it! The day was focused on talking to students about selling their skills to employers and the different tools they can use to do a little bit of self investigation.


Harriet Andrews, the Careers Officer from DKIT recommends using the Grad Ireland Careers Report and Niamh pointed students to the new AHEAD publication on Disclosure – both very valuable in examining what you want out of your career and how to approach the very complex issue of ‘when do I tell someone about my disability?’


If you missed the Dundalk session – do not fear! We have another seminar coming up on the 30th March in Limerick. Check out the poster:

Have you ever seen a nurse in a wheelchair? Would you be concerned if they were looking after you? You immediate answer might highlight that mindsets are often closed to disability in certain arenas. It’s a hugely interesting area and I say that not just because I come from a health science background myself but because it has really made me think about how I view certain professions. Students with disabilities, particularly deaf/hearing impaired students are restricted from teaching professions and while there are no shortcuts to equality for these students, it’s great to be able to discuss the issues and move forward.

If you are a student in a health science area, I would really recommend coming to our annual conference on the 16th March. It’s absolutely free for students and you are guaranteed to come away from the day with a new perspective! You can book a place online at

I am of course talking about our annual conference. This year taking place on the 16th March in O Reilly Hall, UCD.

The conference is entitled ‘the real risk is doing nothing – supporting nursing and midwifery students with a disability in clinical practice.’

While that may be somewhat of a mouthful, just watch the video below to get a sense of what will be discussed.


AHEAD invited students with disabilities from all over Ireland to the Kilmainham Hilton Hotel where we asked them ‘what would make your education amazing?’ We did this with Chris Chapman (Change Exploratory) as a facilitator who used the World Cafe technique ( The evening before the World Cafe we invited successful professionals to have dinner with students so that they could find out more about different professions in an informal setting and make connections for the future. Guests included Caroline Carswell, Lucy Fallon Byrne, Brian Mooney, Tony Ward, Dermot O Sullivan, Sinead Kane, Aoibheann Gleeson & Viv Rath.
The event was a huge success thanks to all the students who took part and shared their experience and stories so openly with us. We look forward to bringing those stories to policy and decision makers in 2011. This video is the start of that – it is a brief look at what happened on the day with contributions from students. It was first shown at the AHEAD AGM on the 14th December 2010.

Originally posted here by Linda Kelly, USI Equality Officer

Hi Everyone,

Just to let you know that Equality Standing Conference will take place on the 5th & 6th of March 2010 in Cork City. We are very grateful to UCC for agreeing to host the event.

Opening of submission of motions and nominations (for the 4 part time officer positions) is Monday 8th February.

Close of submission of motions and nominations (for the 4 part time officer positions) is Friday 19th February at 17:00.

The positions available are:

  • Disability Rights Officer;
  • Gender Equality Officer;
  • Mature Students Officer &
  • International Students Officer.

Please circulate this email to any student you think may be interested in taking up a position. Nominations must be submitted on union headed paper by the CO President and include evidence of student status of the candidate. Nominations must be submitted by post and email.

I would also encourage you to submit motions to conference on equality issues. Motions can only mandate the following officers: Equality, LGBT, Disability Rights, Gender Equality, Mature & International. Motions must be submitted on union headed paper signed by the CO President via fax & email.

If you have any questions, please email me or give me a buzz!

Kind regards,


Yesterday in Dublin Castle WAM hosted a conference: “Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace: Minding your own business” It was a very interesting morning, with Lucy Fallon Byrne opening the conference, with the policy overview formed by the National Centre for Partnership Performance. She was followed by Professor Ivan Robertson and the Gareth O’Callaghan spoke of his personal experience. Even thought it was my work, I really enjoyed the conference. The balance between policy, academics and personal seeemed to work well, with each reinforcing the other. Workshops were given by Prof Robertson and by Janice Walshe of BCM Hanby Wallace.

You can download presentations here

I think it was a timely conference, given how much mental health has been in the media lately, and also given how much the recession must be impacting on people’s stress levels, both in work and outside work. If a company can recognise the value of supporting and valuing and minding its staff, it will see the positive impact of that. It is simple. If a company can value mental wellbeing and recognise their role in creating that, then they are more likely to understand and support staff going through any mental ill health, and their employees are less likely to experience it. Seems simple really.

Press coverage (including a small survey done at the same time): Irish Times, Irish Examiner, Herald