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Diversity In Workforce Can Grow Business
By Frances Toner
17, Sep 2013 - 07:41

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Castlebar event encourages employers to get inclusive

Inclusive recruitment is good for business.

That will be the message to Mayo employers at a special breakfast seminar in the Harlequin Hotel, Castlebar, on Friday (September 20), from 8.30 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The event, which is free to attend, is part of Mayo Ideas Week.

It will highlight to employers the business benefits of hiring and retaining employees with disabilities through supported employment.

Some of the employer benefits of supported employment include getting access to highly suitable candidates and the free services and support of a job coach for new employees.

Supported employment can also help employers enhance their company's reputation as an equal opportunities employer.

Research has shown a diverse workforce promotes creativity, fosters innovation and increases staff morale and productivity.

Employers can also get support and advice on the grants and incentives available to them.

The breakfast seminar is hosted by the Irish Association of Supported Employment (IASE), a national organisation, headquartered in Belmullet, which promotes employment for people with disabilities using a model called supported employment.

The seminar is the first in a series of events which will take place across the Border, Midlands, West (BMW) region over the next two years as part of a unique project called Open Door.

Margaret Halloran, from Westport, is an employment development officer with the Open Door project.

She explained: "Latest census data tells us there are more than 17,000 people in Mayo with a disability, be it physical, intellectual, sensory, pain, mental health or other. This represents a sizeable 13 per cent of the county's population.

"There has been great progress is recent years in promoting the inclusion of people with disabilities in the workforce, however, research still indicates people with disabilities in Ireland are less than half as likely to be employed as the rest of the working age population.

"Open Door wants to ‘open doors' to the workplace by raising awareness amongst employers about the positive contribution people with disabilities can, and do, make at work."

One of the guest speakers at the seminar will be Olwen Dawe, of Irish Business Intelligence. Ms. Dawe is an experienced communicator and advisor who works with SMEs during growth and development phases, and the event organisers expect this to be of particular interest to local business owners.

Open Door is a Disability Activation Project co-funded by the European Union under the European Social Fund (Human Capital Investment Operation Programme 2007 - 2013), and the Irish Government through the Department of Social Protection and Pobal.

The event is part of Mayo Ideas Week, which runs from September 16 to 20. Mayo Ideas Week is a week-long series of idea generation, entrepreneurship and business events hosted by the development and enterprise support agencies and oganisations in Co. Mayo.


Admission to this event, and all events during Mayo Ideas Week, is free.

To register for this event, email or phone Margaret Halloran, IASE employment development officer, on (086) 7910402.

For more information on the work of the IASE, visit


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