Mencap NI’s EmployAbility2 project supports people with a learning disability across Northern Ireland. The project is open to anyone with a learning disability who is over the age of 16, wants to work and can travel to a place of work. The project offers a range of support and activities to enable a person to build their employability skills and enhance their personal development through a person-centred approach.

The project is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014–2020 and the Department for the Economy.

Participant introduction

The participant made an application to Mencap NI’s EmployAbility project. At this time, he was economically inactive and having finished a college course, he was interested in building skills and experience to gain paid employment. He had previously faced several challenges in his work experience, including workplace bullying and had ongoing issues with his mental health.

The participant said:

‘‘I was really down and having a hard time. My Employment Officer helped me to think about what I was going to do, to make things better”.

Initial supports

He engaged in Mencap NI job club activities to help him develop his employability skills, look for work, meet new people and build his self-confidence. The participant’s Employment Officer helped him to identify services to improve his resilience and manage his well-being.

The Employment Officer encouraged him to attend work placements, carrying out a variety of different roles. Through these opportunities, the participant gained new skills and built on his existing skills, as well as boosting his confidence in himself and his abilities.

The participant found the last year very challenging and wanted to work towards some positive outcomes. He was supported by Mencap to set goals to find a job, learn new skills and to learn to drive.

A new job

An opportunity arose to apply for a post in Grounds Maintenance. The participant was supported by Mencap to attend the job interview and was successful in securing the part-time post.

The employer was proactive with a work buddy system and additional support and training for the participant. The participant’s managers and colleagues attended Mencap’s Learning Disability Awareness training, which helped them to identify how to best support the participant in the workplace.

The employer said,

“We get great support from Mencap NI and we as an organisation have gained so much from this experience. I personally have noted the positive impact of employment for the participant, who has proved to be a hard-working, valuable member of the team.’’

The participant is well on his way to achieving all the goals he set, having completed his Construction Skills Register training, applying for his driving theory test and he hopes to consider full-time work with his employer.

He told us,

“I am proud of all I have achieved and happy with where I am at in my life right now’’.


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