Seminar: Enabling Access to Education and Employment – Digital strategies for sustainable community building

Friday 18 September
Venue: Marker Hotel in Dublin’s Docklands


13:30 Registration, tea/coffee
13:50 Mark Magennis, DICE Project Coordinator – Welcome, introduction to DigiPlace4all, context, aims and functionality
14:10 Shauna Humphries, DigiPlace4all Champion – User motivations, activities and goals
14:20 Marian Harkin, MEP – The European agenda for inclusion and the role of digital communities
14:40 Audience discussion 1 – The value of peer support among students, educators and employers
15.00 DICE Partner Organisations – community activity and experiences in Belgium, Poland and Bulgaria
15:30 John Dolan, CEO Disability Federation of Ireland – National collaboration towards inclusion, role of digital communities and peer support
15:45 Audience discussion 2 – The role of digital and social media
16:00 Esther Murphy, DICE Project Researcher – Where we are now and future sustainability
16:10 Audience discussion 3 – The need for multi-stakeholder collaboration and policies to support sustainability and funding
16:25 Mark Magennis, DICE Project Coordinator – Closing remarks
16.30 Ends

Guest Speakers

Marian Harkin MEP

Marian Harkin is an Independent Irish MEP and former TD in Dáil Éireann. As Vice President of the Disability Intergroup Marian is spearheading an initiative to have an EU Commissioner for Disability and has actively worked on the proposed Directive on Accessibility of Public Websites, the European Disability Card and the ratification by Member States of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disability.

She is also ALDE Coordinator of the Employment and Social Affairs Committee, Chair and founding member of both the Carers Interest Group and the Volunteering Interest Group, Vice Chair of the Mental Health Group and Human Dignity Working Group and a member of the Intergroup on Ageing and Solidarity between Generations and the Social Economy Intergroup.

Marian supports independent living for persons with disabilities and adequate services for children with special needs, visiting schools on a regular basis to debate and explain her work and linking in with community endeavours.

In 2011 in the MEP of the Year Awards Marian won the “Outstanding Achievement Award’ in recognition of her work in promoting the interests of volunteers and volunteering in the European Union. In 2012, she won the MEP of the Year award for her work in the area of Employment & Social Affairs.

John Dolan, CEO Disability Federation of Ireland

John Dolan has been Chief Executive of the Disability Federation of Ireland since 2000. Prior to that he worked for 20 years with the Irish Wheelchair Association (IWA), and during that time gained a comprehensive understanding of issues across the movement. DFI with over 126 voluntary disability organisation affiliates serves the interests of people with disabilities and their families in Ireland. John has been active in the development of the National Disability Strategy but equally in developing governance, management capacity and collaborative working to increase organisational capacity across the voluntary disability movement. He has been at the forefront of many innovative developments seeking equality for people with disabilities in Irish society.

John is a member of the following Boards: Higher Education Authority, Physiotherapists Registration Board, European Association of Service Providers for People with Disabilities and the Social Platform, (representative organisation of European civil society umbrella organisations). He is a member of the Membership and Credentials Committee of the European Disability Forum.

About the Seminar

The seminar will showcase DigiPlace4all (, an online peer support community for people with disabilities developing digital skills for accessing education and employment, developed by the DICE project in Ireland, Belgium, Poland and Bulgaria. We will demonstrate how EU funding can help NGOs collaborate within Ireland and across Europe on dynamic initiatives like this.

Through presentations and group dialogue, attendees will explore and discuss issues around access to further education and employment, the role of peer support, the use of online communities, sustainability, stakeholder collaboration, public policy and funding.

Who will attend?

The event will be attended by disability advocates, educators, employers, public policy advisers and DigiPlace4all community members.

About DigiPlace4all

DigiPlace4all peer support communities are now active in four countries – Ireland, Belgium, Bulgaria and Poland – and extension to other European member states is planned. They provide a way for people with disabilities to request and offer support from their peers in developing the digital skills needed to transition from VET training to mainstream education and employment. They also provide functionality for sharing information on technology and accessibility and are open to educators and employers who wish to make their learning environments and workplaces inclusive.

The development of this new online community is a real success story that shows the power of collaboration, not only across Europe but also within our own country. NCBI has been able to pull together a network of supporters and “DigiPlace4all Champions” among key Irish disability organisations such as Enable Ireland, AHEAD, the Disability Federation of Ireland, Dyslexia Association, DeafHear and many more. The collaboration with these Champions is helping us to grow the community into the future.


Please register for the event. Click here to register or do so below.

Looking forward to seeing you there.