This standard will be a key tool for businesses to demonstrate their commitment and achievement as employers of, and providers of services to, people with disabilities. It is a mark of quality and distinction, and is backed by the Rehab Group, the largest disability organisation in the country, and EIQA, the national quality association. ABLE will be the national standard for companies in relation to three key areas – employment and career, built environment and customer services.
The ABLE award will ensure people with a disability can be confident that they can relate easily to a company that has been awarded the standard. Any company, regardless of its size, which aspires to excellence in its dealings with people with disability can apply for the award.
“The ABLE award should be a key element of any organisation’s business strategy in assessing where it is at now and where it needs to be with people with disabilities. Ten per cent of our population have a disability and it makes good business sense for companies to make sure that this key section of our population is being provided for appropriately,” according to Angela Kerins, CEO of Rehab.
“This ideal partnership between Rehab and EIQA offers a wealth of experience to companies seeking to improve their engagement with people with disabilities. Our two organisations have been working in the disability sector and in setting standards respectively for 100 years. We believe that the ABLE standard will take the current interaction between business and people with disabilities to a completely new level,” said Ms Kerins.
“The ABLE award is an opportunity for a business to assess its policies in relation to people with disabilities. We have put the systems in place to guide them through this process and through the continual improvement aspect of the ABLE award, we will provide feedback and guidance to companies wishing to improve on any aspect of their relationships with people with disabilities,” said Irene Collins, Managing Director, EIQA.
“The ABLE award will recognise companies who are able to, and do, make a difference to people living with a disability”, said Ms Collins.
Companies will be assessed on three main criteria as part of the ABLE award. The ‘Employment and Career’ category will look at companies’ approach to recruitment and career development for people with disabilities within an organisation. The ‘Built Environment’ will review the issues of accessibility to the company’s premises, goods and services. For example, criteria such as access to buildings and the provision of lifts that can assist in making the workplace more ‘disability-friendly’. The third and final category, ‘Customer Services’, will review how a company and its staff interact with customers with disabilities. For example are staff trained in disability awareness and does the company’s website have a “AAA” approval rating for people who are visually impaired?
Companies can register their interest on www.able.ie and will receive a full information pack in the coming weeks. Following the submission of a self-assessment form, a site assessment will be arranged and carried out by ABLE representatives after which the company will receive their result and feedback in the form of a report. The company will then be awarded the ABLE Business Excellence Award. Each company’s assessment is followed by feedback which provides key learnings for further development.
In tandem with this launch, ABLE has also announced details of a competition for student designers and artists to design a corporate identity for the new standard, which will be judged by a panel of experts in the field of art, design and disability.
Businesses can apply for the ABLE Business Excellence Award at any time and the process takes approximately 12 weeks from application to assessment. The award year runs from October to October, with awards presented for the successful applicants at an annual presentation ceremony in conjunction with EIQA.
Sunday, 22nd June
- ENDS -
For further information visit www.able.ie or contact:
Kirsten Connolly, Insight Consultants, Tel: 01 29 39 977/ 087 39 39 991
Don Delaney, Rehab Group, Tel:01 205 7311
Rehab Enterprises Ltd is the commercial division of the Rehab Group, Ireland’s leading disability service provider with almost 60 years’ experience providing Rehab’s health and social care, training and education, and rehabilitation, employment and commercial services to people with disabilities and others who are marginalised.
Rehab Enterprises Ltd is the world's first company to provide truly integrated social employment opportunities for workers with disabilities. Approximately 400 people are currently employed in Rehab Enterprises’ range of businesses that comprise Rehab Recycle, Rehab Logistics and Workability. The company has a number of facilities at locations throughout Ireland as well as in Eindhoven in The Netherlands and Lodz in Poland. For more information, visit www.rehabenterprises.ie
EIQA is the leading professional association for the advancement of quality practices and business improvement in Ireland and internationally. Through its role as a quality association, EIQA provide the tools for organisations to sustain and grow, and provides the resources to implement a continuous improvement programme.
Each year, thousands of organisations – public and private, large and small – work with EIQA to continue to improve their performance using independent certification programmes, benchmarking, best practice, training and certified solutions. The performance improvements are recognised through audit, assessment and certification of the customised programmes, nationally and internationally. For more information, please visit www.eiqa.ie