09/06/2022

Hargey Committed To 'Meaningful Change' For People With Disabilities

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has reaffirmed her commitment to bringing "meaningful change for people with disabilities to gain, retain and progress in employment".

The Minister made the commitment as she delivered the closing address on the first day of the Harkin Summit, a two day international Disability Employment Event which this year has been held at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Belfast.

Minister Hargey said: "My Department has a key role to play in supporting the economic empowerment and wellbeing of all in our society.

"Globally, people with disabilities and those with health conditions face significant barriers to gaining, retaining and progressing in employment.

"Locally, the picture is particularly challenging. Recent ground-breaking research carried out by my Department shows that one in five have a disability or health condition but only a third of this group are in work.

"And the disability employment gap is widening. In the last five years it has increased by three percentage points to 45% currently.

"I am determined that together we can close this gap."
News Image
A new Disability and Work Strategy, co-designed alongside people with disabilities, is being developed to deliver long-term solutions.

The Minister explained:

"We need to be ambitious for change. We will better support individuals to achieve their employment and career aspirations. This includes bespoke training and skills initiatives.

"Working with our partners across government we will look to ensure accessible skills programmes and support careers, educational transitions and lifelong learning.

"We will also drive new partnerships with employers to build confidence and best practice and help them access the benefits of more inclusive and diverse workplaces.

"And the public sector must be front and centre on this agenda."

Outlining current supports in place, the Minister added: "My department provides essential frontline services that work daily with those who are seeking work.

"We have a range of programmes and services supporting people to prepare for and access work, such as our Condition Management Programme, which help those at risk of falling out of work, and supports people to better manage their conditions to return to work.

"As the cost of living crisis hits deeper, these and all of our support services, have never been more important."

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

26 July 2022
Health Minister Highlights 'Crucial Importance' Of Cancer Screenings
The Health Minister Robin Swann has highlighted the crucial importance of cancer screening, urging people to attend screenings when they are invited to do so. Minister Swann visited a Mobile Breast Screening Unit at Dromalane House in Newry.
01 August 2022
John O'Dowd Meets With Irish Minister For Transport
Minister for Infrastructure John O'Dowd has met with his southern counterpart, Minister for Environment, Climate, Communications and Transport Eamon Ryan, to discuss progress on projects and issues impacting people across Ireland.
28 July 2022
Health Minister Announces Lateral Flow Testing Extension
The availability of lateral flow testing for those with symptoms is to be extended into August, Health Minister Robin Swann has announced. The move follows an earlier decision to extend availability until the end of this July.
28 July 2022
Infrastructure Minister Meets With IMTAC
Infrastructure Minister John O'Dowd has met with representatives from the Inclusive Mobility and Transport Advisory Committee (IMTAC) to discuss the vital role they play in advocating for older people, for those who are deaf or have a disability and to acknowledge the support they provide to the Department.
27 July 2022
Infrastructure Minister Visits Those Affected By Flooding
Infrastructure Minister John O'Dowd has met with residents and business owners affected by flooding in the North West.