The Northern Ireland Union of Supported Employment (NIUSE) organized a series of training workshops and associated practitioner observation study visits in Belfast, Northern Ireland in November – December 2016 related to Supported Employment for individuals at disadvantage in accessing employment due to disability.

NIUSE is a non-governmental organisation promoting employment and vocational training opportunities for people with disabilities and people from other disadvantaged situations through the Supported Employment model. The Supported Employment model assists people with significant disabilities to access and stay in employment in the open labour market by providing individualised and on-going support. NIUSE is a membership based organisation representing persons with diverse disabilities organisations (physical, learning, mental health, sensory and hidden disabilities) from across Northern Ireland.

Along with attending the training workshops and associated practitioner observation study visits, and also to organise meetings and visits to a range of Supported Employment organisations as well as meeting with relevant Government Departments and agencies (i.e. Department for Communities, Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety). NIUSE has also links with third level academic institutions, such as Queens University and the University of Ulster across a number of faculties if our organization would wish to form links.

In addition, NIUSE currently holds the Presidency of the European Union of Supported Employment ( through Margaret Haddock who is the Chair of NIUSE.

Manique Gunaratne of The Employers’ Federation of Ceylon Network on Disability along with academics of University of Kelaniya, academics of University of Sri Jayawardanapura, Manager from Mas Holdings and Principal of the Naffeel School for the Deaf and Blind were trained in Supported Employment.

It was a great opportunity to meet with her and to further develop links with National Associations of Supported Employment across Europe for organisations and Sri Lanka.

Supported Employment will support the “See Inclusion see the gaps project.  SEE Inclusion SEE the Gaps is a ten-year project initiated by the Centre for Disability Studies, Faculty of Medicine, University of Kelaniya and the Coordinating Centre for Students with Disabilities at the University of Kelaniya to work towards bridging the gaps that give rise to barriers for individuals with disability to access education and employment. The gaps to inclusion often result from a lack of practical support frameworks and mechanisms for people with disabilities to gain active participation and equal opportunities for education and employment. The project SEE Inclusion SEE the Gaps will work to create partnerships to establish these frameworks and mechanisms and their practical application in Sri Lanka. It is a three-part project addressing the gaps in the constructs of self, education and employment at the levels of knowledge creation, dissemination, skill development and attitudinal ideologies.

University of Kelaniya organised a programme to thank all the stakeholders who supported the project and to discuss the importance of developing the carder of Supported Employment Officers at the Sri Lanka Foundation Institute in February 2017.


Picture descriptions for vision impaired persons:

1 Conference theme.

conference theme

2 Manique Gunaratne speaking at the panel.

manique speaking with a smile

3 Group photograph of the Supported Employment Officers.

supported employment team

Manique Gunaratne

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *