To mark World Down Syndrome Day on 21st March, we’ve announced our particpation in DSI’s National Employment Programme. The programme aims to break down barriers and encourage employers across Ireland to consider adults with Down syndrome for roles. The theme for World Down Syndrome Day this year is “With Us Not for Us”, focusing on a human rights-based approach to disability – the right to be treated fairly, have the same opportunities as everyone else, and the freedom for people to make their own choices. Down Syndrome Ireland calls on all supporters and organisations to work #WithUsNotForUs to improve the lives of everyone with Down syndrome.
Meaningful employment has a significant positive impact on those with Down syndrome. It improves confidence, increases social connectivity, and promotes independence and a sense of community. Companies participating in the programme are provided with inclusive workplace training, which includes education and awareness of working with a person with Down syndrome and diversity within the workplace.
One of the many Specsavers stores involved in the programme is Specsavers Ennis. Owen McDonagh started his new role at Specsavers Ennis last summer and his day-to-day roles include welcoming and guiding customers, front of house polishing of glasses and sorting lab orders. Specsavers Ennis Retail Director, Sean Power says: ‘We are delighted to have Owen on our team. His positive energy is infectious and he is an invaluable member of the team. We would encourage every business across Ireland to get involved with Down Syndrome Ireland’s National Employment Programme and experience the positive shift in the workforce as a result.’
For other businesses who would like to get involved in the National Employment Programme, they can get in touch with Aoife Gaffney, Head of Employment, Down Syndrome Ireland firstname.lastname@example.org