Much research has been conducted in the area of supported employment, the bulk of it being in the United States and Britain. The applicability of the research to supported employment in Ireland is significant, even given cultural differences and variations in service delivery. Most of the same issues of concern abroad are also issues of concern here in Ireland.
In the U.S. many sources track the prevalence of supported employment and its conditions, such as the Department of Education, or various nationally funded research grants (Wehman, Kregel Shafer & West, 1989; Johnson, McGrew, Bloomberg, Bruininks, Hung-Chih Lin, 1997). These national databases are an integral part of both the legislative and funding mechanisms which are responsible for shaping policy in the U.S. Research from these grants has tracked prevalence of disability, prevalence of supported employment, and transition issues, for example. However, in Ireland no such comprehensive database exists on the status of supported employment in Ireland.
In Ireland, the National Intellectual Disability Database has provided statistics on the prevalence of individuals with disabilities, and what type of day and residential services they receive. In 1996, approximately 14,250 persons, aged 20-54, who live in the Republic of Ireland are reported as having a mild, moderate, severe or profound intellectual disability (National Intellectual Disability Database, 1996). Most persons with an intellectual disability are receiving some type of day service programming, with activation centres (4326 persons) and sheltered work (4496 persons) being by far the largest types of service provision (National Intellectual Disability Database, 1996). In addition, according to this report, there were 329 persons working in individual supported employment in Ireland in 1996.
Also in 1996, the RISE (Research into the Status of Supported Employment Questionnaire) was conducted (Lynch, McCormack, Pierce & Kelly, 1999). This was the first nationally conducted study into the status of supported employment in Ireland. In this study, 30 agencies were identified as providing supported employment services, with a total of 388 persons in jobs at the time. This research has become the cornerstone of information on supported employment in Ireland.
Other research of interest from Ireland
The Martin Report - The evaluation of the pilot supported employment programme
WRC Social and Economic consultants - Research on operation and Effectiveness of the Supported Employment Programme (March 2008)
NDA (National Disability Authority)
- A Strategy of Engagement "Towards a comprehensive Employment Strategy for People with Disabilities
Statutory targets on employment of people with disabilities in the public sector (12 March 2007)
This report outlines the results of an NDA research project investigating potential methods for measuring the compliance with the 3% target for the employment of people with disabilities in Public Bodies. The research aimed to:
- Investigate international practice in countries which operate monitoring systems
- Examine the merits of using a self-disclosure system for people with disabilities
- Make proposals for a system of data collection and reporting
Towards Best Practice in the Provision of Further Education, Employment and Training Services for People with Disabilities in Ireland (January 2004)
The National Disability Authority launched a series called "Towards Best Practice………" on three of the NDA's priority areas: Further Education Training and Employment, Health and Transport.
This series emerged from an evidence shortfall including a lack of baseline level of statistics on the lives and experience of people with disabilities. The NDA had previously acknowledged that this lack of information had hindered service planning and development.
The three reports provide information on the following:
- Policy and legislation underpinning service provision, development, planning and monitoring
- Range and quantum of health services in Ireland
- International good practice in health and social care services for people with disabilities.
You can read or download at www.nda.ie
National Disability Survey 2006 - a comprehensive baseline data on disability in Ireland for the first time. The NDS research strategy was developed on the basis of the findings of an NDA pilot in 2004. Visit CSO website for further information.