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Last updateSun, 06 Nov 2016 10am

Back You are here: Home Employment Employment Employment information Supported Employment Programme

Supported Employment Programme

  • New employment and training arrangements will have, as a priority, clear progression routes for people with disabilities from sheltered work, supported work and sheltered employment to employment options in the open labour market
  • The introduction of a Code of Practice for the operation of Sheltered Workshops
  • A review of funding of sheltered workshops/employment by respective Departments.

Key Concepts of Supported Employment
Supported Employment is an employment initiative that seeks to facilitate the integration of people with disabilities, who traditionally have had difficulty getting into paid employment, in the open labour market, by providing supports on the job. Supported Employment identifies existing jobs, matches suitable individuals with those jobs and assists them to integrate into the workforce by providing on-going supports in the workplace, as required. In addition to providing the supports which an individual may need to do a specific job, support may also be given in relation to adapting to the work environment.

Supported Employment typically involves four key strands which are normally carried out by a single individual, often referred to as a Job Coach. These strands involve:

A needs assessment, with the individual, to identify the type of employment that is most suitable to him or her;
Job sourcing and development involving contact with local employers and job analysis;
Matching the job seeker with a suitable employer;
Providing the employee with necessary support and coaching in the workplace. The amount of support provided should decrease over time as the employee learns the skills required for the job and adapting to the workplace.
In addition, provision of support by the Job Coach is helpful, to both the employer and co-workers, in facilitating the integration of the employee with a disability into the workplace. The assignments of a co-worker to act as a mentor will optimise the integration of the employee with a disability.

Profile and Recruitment of Participants

The Supported Employment Programme will fund the placement and support of people with different types of disability and varying degrees of disability. However, the nature of disability must be such that clients genuinely need the initial support of a Job Coach to obtain and integrate into employment in the open labour market.

For many people with disabilities, the Supported Employment Programme will be a progression option from an existing training placement. In such cases, participants will not retain their training placements. However, if participation on the Supported Employment Programme does not prove to be the most appropriate option, the participant may return to a suitable training option.

Organisations, which have been approved to run projects, will be responsible for the recruitment of participants for inclusion on the Supported Employment Programme. Every effort should be made to ensure gender-balance amongst participants. FÁS and Local Employment Services (LES) may also refer people with disabilities to these Organisations.

Employment Requirements

It is expected that most jobseekers will be placed in employment in the open labour market for a minimum of 15 hours per week. Exceptions to this may be presented and considered on a case-by-case basis. Employment by an immediate family member will not be eligible under the programme.

Employers will be required to comply fully with employment legislation as regards conditions of employment, including employment contract, tax and PRSI deductions, etc. Remuneration must, at a minimum, be in accordance with the terms of the National Minimum Wage Act: 1999 and will be a matter for agreement between the employer and the employee (or in conjunction with the Job Coach as an advocate for the employee).

Under the Back to Work Allowance Scheme, operated by the Department of Social, Community and Family Affairs, employers may be entitled to PRSI exemption in respect of employees recruited to work for a minimum of 20 hours per week.

Activities to be Funded under the Supported Employment Programme
Eligible activities for financial support, under this Programme, will be as follows:

Needs assessment of individual participants and identification of preferred and suitable employment options;
Pre-employment guidance, e.g., interview preparation, on-the-job communications, assistance in completing application forms, etc;
Sourcing of suitable employment and carrying out of job analysis;
Placements of jobseekers with employers in integrated work settings;
Identifying and sourcing work adaptation equipment necessary to do the job
Provision of on-going job-related support to the employee, as required;
Provision of guidance and advice to the employer, in relation to the integration of the employee into the workforce;
Development of a workplace mentor to facilitate full integration of the employee into the workforce;
Management and administration of the project.
Within the scope of these activities, funding will be made available towards the following costs:

recruitment of Job Coaches,

salary of Job Coaches including Employer PRSI contributions,
team leader or co-ordinator for projects that involve 5 or more Job Coaches,
administrative and overhead costs associated with operating the Programme,
on-going training and development of Job Coaches
transport costs for Job Coaches/Team Leaders,
costs related to recruitment of participants and/or employers for the Programme.
Evaluation and Indicators
Information from the programme will be monitored at national level to inform the future development of the Supported Employment Programme. Therefore, projects will be expected to maintain detailed records of activity, and outcomes. FÁS will provide details of qualitative and quantitative indicators and projects will be expected to provide statistical information to FÁS on a regular basis, including financial reports.

Monitoring and Quality Assurance

Successful projects will be required to enter into a contract of service with FÁS, which will outline detailed requirements for quality assurance in the delivery of the Supported Employment programme.

FÁS staff, on an on-going basis, will monitor all projects.


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