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Working with man's best friends
Karen Kelleher, centre, Job Shadow co-ordinator with EmployAbility Clare with Rosaleen Burns and Mark Burns at their kennels. Photograph by John Kelly.

Working with man’s best friends

FOR any dog lover, spending time walking and caring for the animal is a really enjoyable experience and so placement at a dog kennels was ideal for one participant during EmployAbility Clare’s annual Job Shadow Week last year.

Job Shadow Week, a national initiative, takes place each year in the last week in April and is designed specifically to introduce people with a disability to the world of work. For many people, it is their first employment opportunity, spending time shadowing someone in their workplace and finding out about different work environments and jobs.

Rosaleen and Mark Burns, owners of Dysert O’Dea Dog Kennels, hosted a job shadow for the first time last year and found it a rewarding experience.

“We had the most fantastic young man with us for a job shadow. He’s a dog lover and our kennels and newly-opened daycare service are very busy, so he helped out walking the dogs and learned about the importance of keeping the place clean and tidy.”

Rosaleen’s hairdressing business in Ennis hosts work experience placements throughout the year but this was the first time she got involved with the Job Shadow initiative.

“Everyone deserves a chance to take the first step towards employment. Finding out what a job entails is a good starting point. Visiting a workplace where people are friendly and welcoming and will spend time talking to you about their work can help people build confidence and set employment goals, ” she said.

EmployAbility Clare manager Helen McQuillan is encouraging all businesses in Clare to register their interest in hosting a job shadow this year.

“Last year, we launched a disability confidence campaign with Shannon and Ennis Chambers of Commerce. This year, we are looking for business commitment to provide one opportunity for a jobseeker with a disability – a site visit, job shadow, a chat about your own career path, help with interview preparation or work experience. Offering a job shadow opportunity demonstrates your company’s commitment to inclusion and diversity and this brings real value to your workplace.”

Clare has always been one of the most active and supportive counties. This year, EmployAbility Clare will be providing job shadow opportunities over a prolonged period to ensure that all jobseekers can avail of the opportunity to meet people at work and learn from them.

To register interest in hosting a job shadow, contact Karen Kelleher at Employability Clare on 065 6844007 or email karen@employabilityclare.ie

EmployAbility Clare organises an annual John Shadown Week and one placement will be at a dog kennenls in Dysert O'Dea.

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