Wexford Local Development (WLD) successfully launched its new Ability Programme in Enniscorthy before a crowd of around 200 people.
The event took place in the Riverside Park Hotel and included among the guest speakers, Minister of State for disability issues, Finian McGrath TD.
WLD was successful in securing €600,000 in funding from the Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection to run a three-year programme to deliver employment and training supports to 100 young people with a disability.
The aim of the initiative is to support people in Wexford aged between 16 and 29, who have an intellectual disability, to enable them to move closer to employment.
Michael Wall, Chairperson of WLD, welcomed everyone to the event and spoke about the work of his organisation and of the Ability Programme. 'Wexford Local Development's core purpose is to enable specific individuals and communities to achieve a better quality of life by providing opportunities for employment and by addressing inequalities,' he said.
'The supports provided through the Ability Programme will enhance the quality of life for those young people who participate,' he added.
He thanked the WLD partners that helped deliver the programme and said the support of partners 'is vital to the success of the programme'.
Cllr Barbara Ann Murphy congratulated WLD on securing the funding and wished those participating on the programme every success in achieving their goals.
The key note address was delivered by Minister McGrath who acknowledged the benefits of the Ability Programme and the support it has provided to participants.
'We all have to focus on every young person's ability [and] not their disability,' he said.
He encouraged employers to consider making their work places more inclusive and employ people with a disability.
Many of the young people who participated on the programme made a video, which was shown at the launch, outlining their experiences to-date.
Local businesswoman Clodagh Davies, of Natural Cordial, spoke of employing people with a disability in her business and of her positive experiences.
She said she doesn't see their disabilities and that they are a valuable part of her team.
The event ended with traditional music played by the Cumas trad band.
For more information on the programme contact Wexford Local Development, Mill Park Road, Enniscorthy and the employment support officers can be contacted through: email@example.com on 0539155806 (Sarah) or Maria, on 0539155845 and firstname.lastname@example.org.