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National Learning Network Gives Job Boost to People With Disabilities



Statistics estimating an unemployment rate of 70 per cent among people with disabilities have been turned on their head by Ireland’s largest non-Government training organisation.

The National Learning Network, the training and education division of Rehab, is now recording an 80 per cent success rate in progressing its learners to employment or higher training and education across its nationwide network of 50 centres.

The latest figures were revealed in Dublin at the official launch by Minister for Finance, Brian Cowen TD of the organisation which has changed its name from the National Training and Development Institute (NTDI) as part of a major re-branding exercise.

The National Learning Network provides some 50 different vocational training programmes ranging from computer studies to catering to a total of around 4,500 people around the country each year.

Whilst the vast majority of its service users continue to be people with disabilities, the organisation has extended its client base in recent years through programmes for other groups, such as people who are long-term unemployed, prisoners in the country’s jails and recovering drug users.

Said Acting CEO, Joe O’Brien: “Over the years we have assisted more than 50,000 people – many of whom had never been employed before – to move away from dependency and to build real careers in real jobs.

“And our latest statistics which reveal a rate of successful outcomes of over 80 per cent are proof positive that the life-changing impact we are having on people facing social and economic exclusion is greater now than ever.”

Mr O’Brien added that the organisation was determined to build on this success through a re-structuring process to accommodate significant growth across National Learning Network’s services.

Speaking at the launch, Minister Cowen said the re-branding of the organisation as the National Learning Network has been carried out to more accurately reflect the organisation’s range of activities and its position at the cutting edge of training and education delivery in Ireland.

“It also represents a tangible sign that despite its past success particularly in helping people with disabilities to achieve social and economic independence, the organisation has no intention of resting on its laurels and will continue to develop and to deliver innovative programmes that meet the changing needs and wishes of its client base,” added the Minister.

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