Senior students from St Brigid’s School and St Ita’s School, Drogheda celebrated their Career Discovery achievements at an awards event in the Boyne Valley Hotel on February 10th 2017.
Minister Finian McGrath was in attendance on the day and presented certificates to all the students, complimenting them on their achievements. ‘It’s your day, it’s a great day for the students themselves. It’s a fantastic day for your families, for your teachers and for WALK PEER’.
While completing modules in Career preparation, entrepreneurial skills and work experience, the students are supported by local businesses to highlight their skills and talents in real work environments, leading to part time employment.
More than one hundred people attended the event, representing families, school staff, elected representatives, local businesses, Department of Social Protection (who are currently funding this initiative) and lots more.
Students, Carrie Sellick and Cian O’Rourke from St Ita’s School told the group how much they have grown in confidence through the programme and enjoyed getting out of school to get work experience and a part time job in DV8 and Tesco Extra respectively.
A number of those involved in WALK PEER and the Discovery Programme spoke about its importance to all of those who took part and the need for it to continue in the future. This is about supporting people to work in the world they choose to work in, to learn in the world they choose to live in. It is very individual, not a one size fits all model so that is why it is quite unique.
Tony Campion HR Manager with Coca Cola, spoke of the support needs of businesses to address the challenge of employing people with disabilities and the importance of matching people to roles to provide sustainability. He said there were three things to make the placement a success, the first was preparation to ensure the student had a good experience while on placement and learned something along the way, the second was the follow up support while the placement was going on and that was done through follow up calls and emails to ensure the student was getting enough interesting things to do and the third thing was matching the student to the role.
The school principals agreed that the collaboration with WALK PEER in delivering the Career Discovery Programme had a positive impact on the ambitions of their senior students, but also on the junior classes, who now have new role models.
Minister McGrath said it was a great privilege to attend the event and thanked all of those who invited him along. He concluded the event by telling the assembled group that he had secured €2M in the budget for Pre-Activation projects like WALK PEER to help young people with disabilities to get into employment and contribute to Irish society.
For all the photos, visit our WALK Peer page.