People with Down syndrome want to work and represent a substantial source of untapped commitment and talent. In Ireland, less than 5% of adults with Down syndrome secure meaningful employment and we in Down Syndrome Limerick, in conjunction with Down Syndrome Ireland are working to change that.
Supporting adults to make informed choices about their work and careers and providing them with the necessary resources to seek, obtain and be successful in gaining employment is a core element of the Ability programme that we deliver.
For this reason, Ability also consists of pre-employment training, varied work experiences and specific work placements in the students’ local community which are likely to progress into meaningful employment.
To date, Down Syndrome Ireland have helped support adults gain meaningful employment opportunities with employers such as in hair salons across Ireland as a result of our hairdressing assistant training programme with ALFAPARF Milano. Other successful employment placements to date have been with the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA), in the hotel and catering industry, in leisure centres and in office administration. We have partnered with many more employers and are always on the lookout for more exciting employment opportunities for adults with Down syndrome.
Companies who employ people with Down syndrome report that those employees are committed and motivated, and often only need an opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities.
The positive impact on the person with Down syndrome is substantial. Working helps improve confidence, increase social connectivity and integrate the individual into the local community.
If you are an employer, we ask you not to make assumptions about what a person with Down syndrome can do. We ask you to consider the skills, abilities and aspirations of each individual.
We can provide support to you around looking at job roles and responsibilities in your organisation that would provide meaningful work for an adult with Down syndrome. We can also provide support around contracts and any materials that may need to be written to support the individual and employer training to ensure awareness around working with adults with Down syndrome.
If you are an employer who wishes to employ a person with Down syndrome, we are here to support you. Please contact our Head of Adult Employment and Projects in Down Syndrome Ireland, Aoife Gaffney at firstname.lastname@example.org.