Date: 05 Dec 2022
International Day for People with Disabilities was celebrated by Belfast City Council with a special event in City Hall today that shone the spotlight on ‘Employability for Everyone’.
Among the speakers were Sean Fitzsimons, a disability rights champion whose work has cut across public, private, third sector and political spheres - positively challenging the barriers that disabled people face.
Edyth Dunlop from the NI Union for Supported Employment spoke on the role of the organisation in representing the disability employment sector which assists people with disabilities to find and to stay and to progress within employment. The organisation works with member organisations and other government departments and agencies such as the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland.
Welcoming the speakers and attendees to the event, Lord Mayor Councillor Tina Black, said: “It’s a privilege to be able to welcome everyone to City Hall today to celebrate International Day for People with Disabilities.
“We are delighted to be hosting this special event - a UN sanctioned day that aims to promote an understanding of people with disability and encourage support for their dignity, rights and well-being. The day also seeks to increase awareness of the benefits of the integration of people with disability in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.
“In Belfast, Council is committed to improving the quality of living for people with disabilities and this includes making sure our premises and services are accessible for all.
“Our community plan, the Belfast Agenda, is seeded within the ambition to continually strive to have a city that is safe, fair, welcoming and inclusive - ensuring we have a city of scale with growth and opportunities for all including people with disabilities.”
At the event, attendees were also informed about the work of Council in supporting people with disabilities into work. This included delivering recruitment campaigns and ring-fencing some employment positions to those that were long-term unemployed and including people with disabilities.
Staff from the council’s Human Resources and Employability and Skills teams worked in partnership with disability organisations and the Belfast Works project to secure nominations for training programmes. The programmes included classroom-based learning, on the job training and work experience.
Adjustment requests were facilitated to ensure participants could fully engage in the programmes and throughout the recruitment process. Examples of this included provision of a sign language interpreter, extra time to complete a computer-based skills test and for interview.
For more information on the council’s support for people with disabilities, visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/disability
Further details on International Day for People with Disabilities can be found at www.idpwd.org