The Ceann Comhairle, Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD, launched a new internship programme this week in the Houses of the Oireachtas, specifically tailored towards people with intellectual disabilities.
The Oireachtas Work and Learn (OWL) Programme will see 10 young people with intellectual disabilities placed across a variety of Houses of the Oireachtas Service offices, where they will gain valuable work experience.
The Houses of the Oireachtas is the first Parliament in the world to host an internship programme of this kind.
The Oireachtas Service has worked closely with KARE and WALK to develop this year-long internship programme for 10 young people with intellectual disabilities. The HSE have provided funding for two full time on site co-ordinators to support the interns in their roles and work towards QQI qualifications, while the Houses of the Oireachtas has provided a permanent training room for the interns.
The goal of the programme is to achieve paid employment for the participants following the internship, based on the experience gained working in the Houses of the Oireachtas.
Speaking at the launch in Leinster House, Ceann Comhairle Seán Ó Fearghaíl TD, said, “I am delighted to welcome the ten interns to the Oireachtas and to wish them well as they embark on this new chapter in their professional development. The Houses of the Oireachtas is committed to inclusivity in its work practices and this internship is truly progressive in its focus is on ability, not disability.”
Peter Furlong, Operations Manager with KARE added, “KARE was delighted to work together with the Houses of the Oireachtas and WALK to develop an intern traineeship based at the Houses of the Oireachtas. KARE believes that people with Intellectual Disabilities should be seen as equal and enjoy the same opportunities as everybody else in society. This programme will enable young people gain real transferable work skills in a diverse and dynamic work environment.”