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National Learning Network Donegal makes an impact in Donegal

Inaugural National Open Day, Wednesday, April 1

National Learning Network Donegal makes an impact in Donegal

Students Leanne Twyford and Emma Wickham launch National Learning Network's National Open Day which will be held on April 1 with disability campaigner, Fergus Finlay

National Learning Network Donegal, based in Rossview Business Park, Letterkenny is taking part in the nationwide NLN Open Day on Wednesday, April 1.

14% of the population of Donegal is living with a disability. They are twice as likely to be unemployed and leave school early as those without a disability.

Some 1,223 people with disabilities have been supported into employment in the last three years by Ireland’s largest non-governmental education and training organisation - National Learning Network.

Since 2017, a further 2,500 people with disabilities, mental health difficulty or challenging life circumstances have been supported to move onto further training education opportunities. A total of 800 of whom have progressed onto higher level training and education courses including third level colleges and universities.

Those who were supported to find employment through NLN, and who may otherwise have remained reliant on social welfare payments, have contributed in the region of €750,000 to the State as a result of securing employment.

It also means that the Exchequer has saved in the region of €1 million annually in reduced expenditure on social welfare benefits.

The figures were released today as NLN launched its inaugural National Open Day, which will be held on April 1 at 11am and will see more than 30 centres across the country open their doors to the public.

NLN, which is the education and training division of Rehab Group- provides a range of flexible training courses for people with extra support needs.

It is the largest private provider of personalised-education, training and employment services in Ireland.

The certified training courses, which offer nationally recognised qualifications including QQI, ECDL, and City and Guilds, have impacted significantly on the progression of people with a disability and/or health conditions into employment and have seen some participants land jobs in companies such as Ryanair and Facebook.

This innovative organisation is also supporting 140 people with complex and enduring mental health issues through a new programme launched last year called Individual Placement and Support (IPS).

IPS helps people to obtain employment in mainstream competitive jobs. A total of 40 people who participated in the IPS programme with NLN in 2019 are now in employment.

Interim chief executive of Rehab Group, Barry McGinn said: “Our economy is rapidly growing and we are close to full employment, but people with disabilities are often excluded from the jobs market and spend their time looking in. If you have a disability you are twice as likely to be unemployed, this is unacceptable.

"This is unacceptable and this is where NLN comes in, every day we are helping people into meaningful employment and helping them to change their story.

“We work with people of all ages, from early school leavers right up to people aged 65. Our staff are skilled in working with employers to help match the student with the employer and the role. We would advise anyone who needs extra support to get into employment or further education to drop into a centre during our National Open Day event on April 1.”

 All are welcome to drop in.

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