• NDA Annual Conference – Employing People with Disabilities

    DICE had a poster session (DigiPlace4all presented by Dr. Esther Murphy & Bernadette Meagher) at NDA Annual Conference – Employing People with Disabilities on Wednesday 29 October 2014, 9:00 – 14.30 at Croke Park Conference Centre, Dublin.

    A comprehensive employment strategy for people with disabilities in Ireland is currently being prepared and will be published later in 2014 as part of the National Action Plan for Jobs.

    The National Disability Authority’s Annual Conference 2014 this year took employment as its theme, with a particular focus on showcasing strategies and approaches that are successful in employing people with disabilities.

    The conference brought together employers, policy makers, disability service providers, and individuals with disabilities and their families.

    Key note speaker, Dr Michael J. Prince, Lansdowne Professor of Social Policy from the University of Victoria, Canada emphasized the importance of early transition planning and developing links with employers while students were at school.
    A personal story was shared by Rachel Ashe; a digital marketing specialist who has epilepsy. She discussed the dilemmas of disclosing her disability during the interview process throughout her career and her experience managing her work environment. Following her vivid presentation, her employer at Hays recruitment emphasized the importance of focusing and nurturing talent and accommodating the individual needs of employee with disability in the workplace.
    NDA Executive Director Siobhan Barron introduced the poster session and invited all the delegates to take a tour of the poster presentations, which included a DigiPlace4all poster presented by Dr. Esther Murphy and Bernadette Meagher. There was a lot of interest from disability service providers in learning about DigiPlace4all, and how they and their service users could get involved.

    Establishing on-line mechanisms to enable linking peers to support each others’ digital skills needs was recognised as having the potential to be a great support to both people with disabilities and their support circles to help with transition to workplace.

    On the day and since the conference, happy to report that several more DigiPlace4all Champions have joined our community!

  • College Awareness Week

    College Awareness Week is a national campaign which aims to promote the benefits of going to college, to help students of all ages to become college-ready and to showcase local role models who are in college. It is being delivered in partnership with the following organisations: Higher Education Authority, the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals and the Confederation of Student Services Ireland. Examples of events during College Awareness Week are listed below. Log onto to find events in your area.

  • A Report from the Visual Impairment Access Seminar

    Date: Thursday 25th September 2014

    Venue: Trinity College Dublin, Arts Block, Room 3105, College Green, Dublin 2

    Funders: National Forum for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning

    On Thursday 25th September, Dr. Esther Murphy with TCD’s School of Education and AHEAD co-ordinated the National forum for the enhancement of teaching and learning funded seminar “Addressing access challenges for students with visual impairments making transition into further and higher education”.

    The Head of the School of Education, Dr. Carmel O’Sullivan opened our seminar by warmly welcoming the wide range of participants and highlighting the School’s commitment to expanding the inclusive education research led by Dr. Michael Shevlin and supported by Dr. Esther Murphy, Dr. Patricia McCarthy and other colleagues.

    Guest speaker Rachel Hewett presented research from two RNIB supported longitudinal studies in the area of transitions for young people with visual impairments in the UK. Transition in her findings is emphasized as a continuous process which builds on experiences over time, and as such there is an importance to plan ahead by considering the skills that a particular young person will require, so this can be incorporated into their education throughout the duration of their time in school.

    Our world café followed with tables expertly hosted by two students, Caoimhe Grogan a 1st year UCC student and Dean Cusack a TY student from Waterford, Feach Chair Eithne Walsh, Visiting teacher Mary Harrisson and TCD researcher Dr. Patricia McCarthy.

    Lively discussion between all participants including representatives from the National braille production centre, disability officers, NCBI community resource workers and others was skillfully facilitated by AHEAD’s Mary Quirke.
    Dr. Mark Magennis Director of NCBI Centre for Inclusive Technology discussed the benefits of mainstream as well as assistive technologies for supporting students with sight loss in education. Mark also introduced DigiPlace4all, the online peer support community to help people with disabilities, educators and employers with digital skills.

    The closing words went to Caoimhe who when asked could she share three tips for people in the room, she replied “would it be ok to give five?”

    So briefly here they are:

    • To learn braille and mobility from an early age as later it can cause stigma
    • Increase teachers’ use of accessible inclusive teaching format
    • More targeted career advice for visually impaired students to include meeting with peers who had made successful transitions into education and employment
    • Message to other students “know your rights before college, know you can use an advocate”
    • Message to educators and other key workers “listen to the student, all the time!”

    See also:

    For further information on the seminar, the HEA funded pilot study “Profiles of senior cycle students with visual impairments in Ireland” and DigiPlace4all please contact

  • DICE at Media and Learning conference 2014

    DICE partners will present DigiPlace4all at the Media and Learning conference on 20-21 November 2014 in Brussels, at the Flemish Ministry of Education headquarters. More info at website.

  • Learnabil-IT Project Final Conference

    We will attend the Learnabil-IT Project Final Conference on 3 December 2014 (9:00 – 13:00) (programme).

    It will take place at:
    The Martin’s Hotel
    Boulevard Charlemagne 80
    1000 Brussels
    (Schuman metro)

    Funded by the European Commission programme PROGRESS, Learnabil-IT project aims to promote cooperation and mutual learning between the worlds of work and vocational education and training in the ICT sector, and through this support a better skills match and a greater level of employability of people with disabilities in the open labour market.

    Registration is still possible.