A Galway-based specialist training provider is part of a ground-breaking, European-wide project to assist people with an acquired brain injury to secure a job or successfully return to the workplace.

The team from Quest Brain Injury Services, Galway, are working in tandem with partners in the Netherlands, Slovenia, Belgium and Portugal, to spearhead a comprehensive report and roadmaps which will facilitate reintegration into employment for individuals who have cognitive impairments as a result of a brain injury.

Quest, a rehabilitative service provided by National Learning Network (NLN) Galway, has provided training for hundreds of people with a brain injury in the Galway, Mayo, and Roscommon areas for over a decade. People with a brain injury can experience a wide-range of life-altering consequences including loss of co-ordination, poor memory, diminished planning and organisational skills, as well as difficulties in communication and concentration.

Since 2020, the European Social Fund has enabled the development of the ‘Return to work after an acquired brain injury (ABI)’ initiative, with the primary goal of supporting both job-seekers and employees with cognitive issues as a result of a brain injury, to thrive in the workplace.

The focus of the project is to create roadmaps for vocational rehabilitation in healthcare settings while enhancing communication between individuals with an acquired brain injury and health and work professionals.

The project aims to produce recommendations that address the invisible consequences of an acquired brain injury, in particular, cognitive impairments, such as reduced attention span, impaired information processing or lack of self-awareness. Due to the differing nature and severity of acquired brain injuries, individuals can experience a range of cognitive and emotional consequences. As each individual is unique with their own characteristics, talents and work expectations, programmes need to be specific to each person.

The team from Quest in NLN Galway are working alongside partners including Heliomare from the Netherlands, URI-Soca from Slovenia and CPRG from Portugal and led by a team from the Thomas More University of Applied Sciences, in Flanders, Belgium.

A series of in-depth meetings have taken place to address the different barriers and successes each partner experiences with supporting individuals back to work, to generate ideas for moving forward and how to make these ideas tangible.

In late 2021, two members of the management group traveled to the various services, including Quest in Galway, to witness the support being provided to individuals first-hand, to become familiar with the way in which healthcare institutions implement vocational rehabilitation and to exchange experiences.

The project is anticipated to run until the end of this year when a final report will be completed.

NLN provides a range of flexible training courses for people who have experienced a setback, have had an accident, a mental health issue, an illness, injury or have a disability and extra support needs. NLN is the largest private provider of personalised education, training and employment services in Ireland. 

To find out more about the services provided by Quest, email quest@nln.ie or contact the NLN Galway team by email at galway@nln.ie or visit www.nln.ie.

ENDS