Supported Employment

What is Supported Employment?

A programme which particularly benefits autistic people with high support needs, or who need specific supports is Supported Employment. Supported Employment programmes provide a wide range of customisable, flexible, person-centred job supports directed at helping candidates prepare for entering the working world, matching them to the jobs which are structured around their strengths, expertise and special interests and helping them adjust to working life.

Supported employment often involves the extensive use of assistive technology and job coaching and communication supports to achieve its objectives, and can be particularly beneficial for people with higher or more specific support needs, in terms of both improving their employment outcomes and, whilst also increasing their independence, confidence and social skills.     

Autism-friendly and disability-friendly measures are people-friendly measures, and applying Reasonable Accommodations in the workplace ensures that autistic people (and people with disabilities) are valued and appreciated in the workplace with appropriate support.

Supported Employment Programmes

AHEAD – WAM Programme

AHEAD run a work placement programme for graduates called the Willing Able Mentoring (WAM) programme. This is a work placement programme that aims to promote access to the labour market for graduates with disabilities and build the capacity of employers to integrate disability into the mainstream workplace. WAM works with participating employers to offer mentored paid, work placements for graduates with disabilities. All placements are minimum 6 months and require a minimum third level qualification, at least a level 6.


The WALK REAL Programme is designed to support adults who have an intellectual disability and wish to explore the world of work and experience paid employment. 

Benefits for participants Include:

  • Professional Job Coaching that will advance career development
  • Earning money, to allow for more independence
  • Personal growth, increased confidence and self-esteem. Increasing network of contacts and friends
  • Increasing skills development and decision making
  • Ongoing support and follow up care whilst maintaining relationships and providing necessary training and support for the employer

OWL Programme

The OWL training programme is an applied learning, development and socialisation programme for young adults with an intellectual disability. OWL trainees get a real and applied learning experience in a work setting. Each year the House of the Oireachtas Service, along with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media, provides workplace settings for the ten OWL trainees.


EmployAbility services provide an employment support service for people with a:

  • health condition
  • injury
  • illness
  • disability

It is also a recruitment advice service for the business community. Your local EmployAbility service will give you employment help. It also gives employers access to a pool of potential employees.

Providers also deliver:

  • in employment support for both the employer and the employee
  • a professional job-matching service to help ensure successful recruitment
  • advice and information on additional employment supports and grants

Specialisterne Ireland

Specialisterne Ireland is a specialist consultancy for neurodivergent people (autistic, ADHD, Dyspraxia/DCD, Dyslexia) supporting them into employment. We match the skills and characteristics of these individuals with roles that will suit their unique ways of working, while also harnessing their particular strengths. We help them find employers who will make the most of their abilities while appropriately accommodating their challenges.

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