Ireland has one of the lowest levels of employment for people with disabilities in Europe. This leaves many people with disabilities living in poverty. To tackle this, we need to support people with disabilities in finding employment and we need to make the workplace a more inclusive environment. 

At SeeMySkills, we believe that early intervention is key in reversing this trend. That is why we developed the Accelerator Programme, a support programme for secondary school students. 

The Accelerator Programme 

Our Accelerator School Programme is tailor made for secondary school students. This off-campus development program spans four days and covers essential areas such as communication, goal setting, time management, mock interviews, CV writing, and even barista training. Students also hear from a range of inspirational speakers, which include people with disabilities, to showcase to the kids, they are not defined by their disability. Our partnerships with businesses are crucial to the programme. It allows students to hear from key employers on the opportunities that await them after they finish school. 

 At See My Skills, we target students who share a common vision of developing their own lives independently, regardless of the challenges they may face. We are delighted to have successfully completed a pilot program in March with Colaiste Choilm Ballincollig, and in 2024, the Accelerator Programme is expanding to ten schools across Cork and Dublin. 

The Outcomes 

The See My Skills Accelerator Programme has truly made a significant impact on the lives of our teenage participants, as well as their parents and school staff. Through two rounds of surveys conducted before and after the programme, we’ve gathered compelling data that underscores the programme’s success. 

Before embarking on their See My Skills journey, 69% of our students had one or more goals, and this figure surged to 87% after attending the program. Moreover, attitudes towards achieving these goals were vastly improved, particularly in terms of having someone to check in with and staying motivated. After the programme, more students were confident in their future career aspirations and felt motivated to secure work-experience opportunities or part-time jobs.

One of the most remarkable transformations was the significant boost in the students’ hope levels, with a shift from high to a very high level of hope for achieving their future goals. Their interest in further education slightly decreased, possibly due to newfound knowledge that various paths are available for future employment beyond the conventional route.

Importantly, students gained confidence in practical skills, such as writing a CV, handling job interviews, and identifying their existing strengths, which were highly valued in their journey towards employment. They also felt that they possessed the skills employers look for, a remarkable shift in their self-perception.

Parents also witnessed remarkable changes in their children’s belief in themselves and their employability, as well as a boost in their children’s interest in work-experience opportunities and further education. Parental hope for their children’s future success and satisfaction with the program’s impact were notably enhanced.

School staff emphasised the visible growth in students’ confidence during the programme, commending the See My Skills team for their vision, enthusiasm, creativity, and genuine care for the students. The programme succeeded not only in broadening students’ horizons but also in fostering a sense of empowerment and self-belief. 

In conclusion, the See My Skills Accelerator Programme has exceeded expectations, enriching the lives of teenagers, parents, and school staff. The programme’s success stories are not just statistics; they represent the transformative impact that it has had on our participants and their communities. We remain committed to providing an invaluable experience that equips young individuals with the skills and confidence they need to pursue their dreams.