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Meet the Employment, Training and Academia (ETA) team!

Shane Merritt and Martina Melvan who are WIPOs in the ETA team are standing with Siobhan O'Brien from UCC. All three are smiling and standing in front of a stand at an event where the WIPOS were providing information to employers about work adaptations and more for people who are blind or vision impaired. They have pieces of assistive technology at their stand to display some aspects of what NCBI can offer to empoyers.

The Employment, Training and Academia (ETA) team was established in 2022 to provide services to people in the areas of employee retention, employment seeking and further education. This team aims to empower individuals with visual impairment to reach their full potential by helping them develop the skills and knowledge necessary to succeed in the workforce or pursue further education.  

The Teams’ Lifecycle Manager, Jodie McGriele, told us a bit more about the different roles that make up the team and highlighted the teams’ critical role in helping individuals with a visual impairment achieve their career and educational goals and promoting greater inclusivity and accessibility in the workforce and academia:

“The team has five employment specialised staff that are located across the country (Midwest and Midlands, South, Dublin and Northeast, West and Northwest, Southeast) and are here to support NCBI service users who are having difficulties in the workplace due to the impact of sight loss. These staff can help to find solutions that make work tasks easier to manage from a vision-based perspective.  

“There is also a dedicated employment advisor based in Dublin who, together with two workplace integration and partner officers (based in Dublin and Cork), supports service users in their job-seeking or career-changing paths. This team also work closely with employers to create inclusive and accessible workplaces that accommodate individuals with visual impairment.   

“The ETA team also provides employment training which includes programmes and courses leading to increased employability. They are delivered nationally, both face-to-face and virtually, through NCBI’s National Training Centre (NTC). 

“The NTC is overseen by Service Development Practice Lead, Jody Morris, and staff includes skilled tutors in different areas (Braille and literacy, access technology, advocacy and engagement, ICDL, and learner supports) who provide training and support for individuals with visual impairment to help them access information, communicate, and perform job-related tasks.   

“There is also an orientation and mobility specialist based in NTC, dedicated to teaching individuals with visual impairments to travel safely, confidently and independently in their environment.  

“Overall, the Employment, Training and Academia Team plays a critical role in helping individuals with a visual impairment achieve their career and educational goals and promoting greater inclusivity and accessibility in the workforce and academia.