BY SIOBHÁN CRONIN
THE Cope Foundation’s Grand Job advocacy campaign is looking for employers to get on board.
The aim of the campaign is to deliver paid employment for people with intellectual disabilities and encourage companies to add to their social responsibility strategies.
One of the companies which is a major advocate of the campaign is Skibbereen’s landmark supermarket, Field’s.
Adam Walsh, manager of Field’s Supervalu, spoke at the launch of this year’s campaign.
‘There is no business metric to quantify the impact of inclusion in the workplace but it really changes lives, all our lives,’ said Mr Walsh.
He added that advances in technology have enabled a lot more people to have a functional role in business and that inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities in the workplace can only be a good thing.
Annmarie Connolly, who is supported by Cope Foundation, and works in Field’s Supervalu spoke of her love of her job.
‘I do anything and everything – anything anyone asks me to do and they do ask me because everyone knows me. I love being a part of the team,’ she said.
Annmarie hopes that many more people will get involved in the Grand Job campaign and give more people real, paid jobs. She is supported in her role by her colleague Marian Harte, who acts as a mentor to Annmarie.
This is the beginning of a year-long schedule of events to create awareness and turn that awareness into real, paid jobs.
The aims of Grand Job include finding paid jobs for at least 10 people, which will involve matching the right people to the right jobs.
Throughout the campaign, Cope Foundation will work in partnership with employers so they know and understand all the positives about working with people with intellectual disabilities.
Cope Foundation will be liaising directly with employers, providing job facilitators as support to both employers and employees and leading a comprehensive social media campaign.
Cope Foundation also has a dedicated webpage for Grand Job at www.cope-foundation.ie/GrandJob.
Conor Healy, CEO of Cork Chamber of Commerce said the Chamber was delighted to sponsor the campaign. ‘Inclusive workplaces are beneficial to employers, employees and customers alike, and we are looking forward to playing our part in finding paid employment for people with intellectual disabilities in Cork.
He urged the businesses of Cork city and county to get involved in the Cope initiative.
Colette Kelleher of Cope said: ‘We are asking the business community of Cork to stand with us in delivering paid jobs that will create truly inclusive workplaces.’