This year’s Job Shadow Day takes place on Wednesday, April 24. The event will offer a unique opportunity for the disabled to follow a workplace mentor as he or she goes about their normal working day, and will allow participants to discover and learn about the skills and education required to succeed in the occupation they’ve chosen to follow.
“We’re hoping to have 12 places available this year,” said Regina Scally, who is co-ordinating Job Shadow Day at St Christopher’s Services in Longford town. “Some participants can go out to the workplace by themselves, while others will have a job coach accompanying them. It gives participants great insight into the jobs they choose to follow, and shows them how skills they’ve learned can be used in the workplace and what employers require from them. There is also potential there to identify employment for some of the participants as a result of taking part in the project.”
Speaking about the part that local businesses play in the project, Ms Scally said that St Christopher’s always welcome employers to get involved. “By taking part, employers are promoting and encouraging an inclusive working environment,” she said. “Last year, we had a wide range of local workplaces taking part, including The Peppermill Restaurant in Ballymahon, Longford Garda Station, Grey Wizard Design, Teagasc, and the County Enterprise Board, amongst others. Businesses show leadership in the local community by affording people with disabilities this opportunity.”
Explaining the origin of the event, Ms Scally added: “The Job Shadow project was launched in 2007 and has been going ever since. The Irish Association of Supported Employment promote and advertise it, and we at St Christopher’s take responsibility for it at local level. It’s a national project and it allows employers to see the positive contribution that people with disabilities can offer in the workplace.”