Irish Wheelchair Association Ability Programme presents an audio documentary 'Potential' -
This documentary reveals the dedicated spirit of the team behind the Ability Programme at the Irish Wheelchair Association.
You will hear in depth conversations between Good Day Cork's Joanna Dukkipati, Jennifer Murray (Programme Co-ordinator,Ability Programme, IWA) & Joanne Dawson (Job Coach, Ability Programme, IWA).
Jennifer & Joanne describe the range of support they offer their clients. They also explain that success is defined by their clients through an holistic approach.
Have a listen & we request you to leave your words of support in the comments.
Remember to signpost young people living with disabilities to www.iwa.ie/ability
Co-sponsored by EQUAL Ireland
Produced & Published by #GoodDayCork
Edited by Daniel Clancy
Music: Justin Grounds
#Disabilities #EqualAccess #Wheelchair #GoodDayCork #MediaDiet
The Ability Programme of Irish Wheelchair Association releases
an audio documentary titled ‘Potential’.
‘Potential’ reveals the dedicated spirit
of the team behind the Ability Programme -
how this Ability Programme supports
and helps empower people to
create their own path towards
the working world and the difference
it makes to EVERYONE involved.
I am here with Joanne Dawson.
What is it that you do with the
Irish Wheelchair Association, Joanne?
Tell me all about it.
No problem at all Jo. The Irish Wheelchair Association
got the Ability Programme on board back in 2018.
So it's funded by the Pobal and the European Social Fund.
So basically what it is - it's helping people
with a physical disability between
the ages of 18 to 29yrs move
closer to the labour market.
So for some people that could
be employment, work experience -
others: education, training. Others mightn’t know exactly
what they're looking for initially at the
start and that's where it’s working
with them to try and identify
what is their goal? What would they like to work towards and that…
I am with Jennifer Murray who is the manager of the
Ability Programme by the Irish Wheelchair Association.
It's a joy to be talking to you Jennifer.
It's lovely to talk to you today Jo.
This is my first podcast and I'm so excited.
Let's do it. Let's do it.
The Ability Programme, it's a national programme.
It's a national programme, yeah,
so there are 27 Ability Programmes all
around the country and we're one of them.
So our niche - each of them would have a particular niche.
So our niche is 18 to 29yr olds who
have a physical disability.
Other Ability Programmes might work with people
with visual impairments or who are hard of hearing
or are on the autism spectrum. Our Ability Programme
has 86 people, participants around the country.
I believe there's… the number is about 2,000 people - clients -
all together throughout the Ability 27 [programmes].
So a huge number and all those
other groups are doing like Trojan
work for people with disabilities around the country.
Currently, in the Southern Region is 24 clients,
at the moment that I have on. The
clients that are at different stages of
a lot of in a good number of clients have gone
on for further education.
So a lot of them would have came to me at the start
or at scratch and didn’t know where they
wanted to go or what they wanted to do?
So I looked into it with them
and we found their interests
and what the really interested in doing
and our passions and all that kind of stuff
and link them up then up to the relevant
courses and that would be within their County as such.
They’re currently really enjoying the courses that are
currently doing - six courses
and they're looking now into the third level. next year.
And others who’ve gone on enjoying their roles
and employment and others who’ve gone on in CE schemes
and others as well who are in voluntary positions as well.
So there's a good mixture of what's
happening in the results for the clients of where they’re at.
And it's for any kind of support is it
it's one-to-one support, peer support, how to throw a party
support, how to make friends support -
Like it’s ability is completely holistic another cool
thing about the project a common objective that comes
up is for people to feel a sense of social isolation
and then they want to do something about that.
That was a common thread and
actually a young people group has
come up out of the Ability Programme in Galway,
you know, where they've gone out to the Galway Races
or they’ll meet up once a month
to do some sort of social event.
So yeah, definitely holistic approach. It's not just about work.
It's about finding a balance in your life making sure
you're making progress in whatever way - shape
or form that might look like for you, for the client,
but peer support is available and
we run webinars a lot of the time.
There's lots of different training involved
but the one-to-one coaching is where
you really see the most development,
I suppose - between yourself and your coach.
You’ll work on objectives
and you'll get to wherever you want to be.
What are the unique challenges that you help your clients
All depends on the client - Each client is different
but I suppose if you were to look at a trend of different things
that are happening - is the accessibility bit,
you know, with buildings
and that. So people were looking for work and paid work, work experience.
whatever it is and the same with
colleges as well and stuff like that,
you know, it's all to do with accessibility.
Let's see if the lecture was upstairs the client,
might not necessarily be able to get upstairs.
They’re the challenges that have come up.
In other challenges, like confidence building,
but that's where we would work with the clients
as well to increase their confidence
in that is well and advocacy all that kind of stuff.
You know, and getting them to be confident in themselves,
you know and stuff like that - that's all part of it as well.
Anther thing, I'm doing as well that has been ongoing
since the summer of 2020, I am doing a group coaching
and mindfulness sessions with my clients.
As well as that built up relationships
with a number of different companies
and in particular there's been one company there
and they've come together and done a CV and
Interview workshop for my clients as well,
which was a great success as well.
When I used to work, I used to
work in it was called the Job Club
in Ballaghaderreen in Roscommon,
and we used to work with unemployed,
long-term unemployed people over four weeks.
We get a new group every four weeks
and I've some of my best professional memories
from working there and it was because
an awful lot of the time
when we sit down and speak to clients
who've come in. They have this, again
pre-conceived notion that we're
going to be like the ‘dole police’,
you know, or we’re just going to be this sort of
authoritarian person who tells them exactly
what they have to do but when you build up a relationship,
with them and when you have your first
one to one meeting with that person and you ask them,
“Okay, Jo so nice to meet you. Tell me a bit about yourself.”
“How are you feeling? How are you doing?”
And they just look at ya and some of these people,
you know who had been unemployed
for a long time had not been asked
that question in a really really long time
and I could have been the first time that someone
has actually, genuinely inquired after their health
I've had clients just immediately start to cry.
You're just so blown away that they thought
the Job Club is going to be one way,
and in fact, it's all about supporting that person
to be who they want to be
and that we are genuinely interested in them
and that we genuinely want to help them.
So when you're talking about seeing a difference
in people and seeing people blowing you away,
I saw that time and time again in the Job Club.
When you demonstrate to someone that you believe in
them, when you make it clear to someone
that their pathway is paved by themselves
and you see that light bulb moment in their eyes
and that realisation come to the front of their brain.
“Oh my gosh. I am in control of my life. It’s me!”
“And this person cares about me and..
they're they're here to support me to do whatever it is…
I want to do!” And that person just blossoms.
For you as the manager of this Programme,
what does success look like for the people you work with?
That's what I love about the Programme
is that it's down to the individual.
You know, we work on.. the Job Coach works on
goals and objectives with the clients.
The client will decide what it is, time frame involved
and identify barriers that may be in their way.
The Coach will support them to overcome those barriers.
The Coach will remind them
for you know, if there's accountability needed
and they need a bit of reminding about that.
We can support them through text messages
or emails whenever they ask us to do that little reminder -
that application form is due tomorrow
or whatever it is.
But success for one person coming onto the
programme could be ‘I want to get a job’ simple
as ‘I want to get a job in administration’ what success for another person joins
the program could be, you know,
‘I would love by the end of the year
to have a good CV done and ready to go.’
It's about building up confidence in the person
supporting them to realise their own potential
and that their own dreams are possible -
For me, it's to see the development in the clients
would be really what I want to see,
you know happening and that they have progressed
from where the were at and
they might have been at a stage
where the weren't you sure where were at,
what they wanted to do.
So and they've gone on and
they're currently doing a course
and now I know that they've applied
and they're hoping to get into Third Level next year.
So that sort of stuff will be great
just to see that continual progression
of clients and even clients now who’re coming
out of college - to see them progressing into work,
and also their own personal development,
their own confidence building
and all that kind of stuff is what I
really love to see developing more.
It's very much about empowerment
and empowering that person to make their own decisions
and to realise that you know
through no fault of their own, Jo,
and I want to stress that, a
lot of people with disabilities have been,
for want of a better phrase, wrapped in cotton wool
throughout their lives
and it's trying to, not always - obviously it's not going to
be for everyone, but it's trying to take away
that and ensure that they're aware that Mum
and Dad don't have to make decisions
for them that they're adults
and if they feel strongly about something
then absolutely we’re there to help them,
to support them to find that voice
and to feel strong - strongly enough and confident enough
to be able to say that, say what they want.
So success for different people is just different.
There's no two people who are exactly the same.
Now obviously, success for the Programme,
you know is all about targets. It's always about targets,
targets, targets. But we're making headway into that.
We're getting very close. So we've done very well,
especially with COVID, you know. But the people
they decide what success looks like for them.
And for some people it could be work experience, for others
it could be volunteering. [For] Other people
it could be just letting the independence…
feeling independent enough to take an accessible bus
or train to somewhere else by themselves.
One objective being completed leads to
to that confidence build up
that means that they can set another objective
for themselves knowing that they can do it
because they've just completed
one and you do you do see such a marked difference
in so many clients from that first meeting
with them to maybe two years down the line
and you completely see them like a flower.
I know that sounds really hippy-dippy
but like you see them flourish and grow
and develop and blossom.. like you really do.
What is the one thing you want to achieve in
2021 as part of the Ability Programme?
Our funding initially was supposed to end on the first of July this year,
but we have recently received confirmation
that the funding is going to continue
and everyone is just completely delighted
that we're going to be there continue
to support these kinds of disabilities around the country.
And how does one get in touch with you?
Are there any additional aspects that you look at when you take on clients?
I work as part of the Ability team. So I'm the Job Coach
for the Southern Region and then there's another job coach
for the Eastern Region and another for the Western Region.
So we all then have a caseload of clients that we’re working with.
And we continually take people on to the Programme
and that's why it's great to talk to you
today to promote the Programme
as well and particularly within the Southern Region
- just keep the word out there that we are continuing to take people on to the Programme
and the main eligibility criteria is some sort of a physical disability.
And you don't necessarily need to be in a wheelchair,
as well as long as their disability affects them physically
and they're between the ages of 18 to 29yrs.
It's all free.
And if they want to get in touch with me
they can contact me. My mobile there it's 087 381 865 8
and my email is [email protected]
so that will be the best way to go about it.
Yeah, and the website is
www.iwa.ie and then you'll see links
for the Ability Programme
and different links for young people and
we're there and there's a contact us form
you can use what you can do is if you contact
me and you're interested yourself then I
just see whereabouts in the country
you are because it's pretty different job
coaches around the country though.
If you're in the South I will connect you up with Joanne,
if you're in the West it will be Sarah,
and if you're in the East it will be Anne.
So I'm just going to shout out my number now,
so it's 087 718 629 4
Thank you so much Joanne. Thank you so much Jennifer.
And to all of the team at the Ability Programme.
Thank you so so much for all the work you guys
do and may the force be with you and all your clients.
You too Jo! Thanks so much. We’ll talk to you soon.
Thank you, Joanna.