Cope Foundation's Ability@Work programme internationally recognised

Cope Foundation's Ability@Work programme internationally recognised

Craig Kelly, the first president of the Ability Board which was established in March 2020 by Ability@Work which is run by the Cope Foundation

COPE Foundation’s Ability@Work employment programme has won a Zero Project Award in recognition of its work in developing inclusive workplaces right across Cork.

The Zero Project focuses on the rights of persons with disabilities globally and the award recognises the impact that Cope Foundation’s Ability@Work programme has on developing inclusive workplaces across Cork city and county and supporting people with disabilities to secure meaningful, paid employment.

The announcement was made at the recent Zero Project Conference, hosted annually by the United Nations organisation. 

Marian Hennessy Ability@Work co-ordinator, was one of the contributors at the online workshop. 

She was thrilled to receive the award. 

“We are honoured to receive this award from the Zero Project, acknowledging best practice in supported employment practices internationally. This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our participants' ability and how they can contribute to the workforce in Cork. We are so delighted to be a part of the Zero Project and for the Ability@Work programme to be internationally recognised in this way,” she said.

Craig Kelly a participant in the Ability@Work programme and the President of the Ability Board, also spoke at the international forum about employment opportunities for people with an intellectual disability. 

“I am a 22-year-old with an intellectual disability. I have been with Ability@Work since the beginning of the programme. I started my journey as a job seeker, but I am now the first Ability Board President," he said. 

Craig explained his role in the Ability Board. “The Ability Board is an advocacy group who fight for the rights of people with intellectual disabilities in employment. We are preparing for a nationwide campaign to be the voice for the voiceless. I have learnt now that having a disability is nothing to be ashamed of.

“I am proud of who I am now. The more we talk about it, the more it will be accepted. I want everyone in Cork to get behind us as we fight for inclusion in the workplace,” he added.

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