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CARD Group Research & Insight – Cedar

CARD Group Research & Insight - Cedar
CARD Group Research & Insight - Cedar

Cedar SkillSET and CARD Group Research & Insight based in Belfast worked collaboratively to provide an employment placement opportunity, offering work experience in a paid placement.  One of our participants, Colin, successfully applied, interviewed and was accepted.  CARD Group pride itself on being a Living Wage Employer.  

Colin said: 

“I was nervous at first arriving at Card. The role with Card was my first paid role and it was the best environment I could have hoped for. The team at Card helped me gain confidence and feel welcomed, it was a fantastic opportunity. With the experience and skills I’ve gained I’m excited and motivated to pursue similar roles in the future.”

Aoife Hamilton, Director of Corporate Development, said:

“CARD Group was keen to work with Cedar Foundation to offer a work placement for a disabled person to help them develop their employability skills and gain valuable on the job experience in our busy office. As well as supporting the individual, we knew this would benefit our company through introducing new skills, bringing a different perspective to our work, and promoting diversity and inclusion. This was our first time offering a work placement and we really benefited from the support of Cedar Foundation. Any questions we had before and during the placement were quickly answered, and our wider team received excellent disability equality training. Our experience working with Cedar has been very positive. We would recommend participation in the SkillSET programme to any employer, and look forward to our own continued involvement.”

Colin’s work placement was as an Administrative Assistant with CARD Group . Working under the supervision of Roxy Thompson (Research Officer), Colin thrived in his role. Throughout his placement Colin contributed to multiple work streams receiving positive feedback on his performance during regular reviews of his progress.

Roxy Thompson, Research Officer, said: 

“Colin was a pleasure to work with. From the beginning of his placement it was clear that he was committed to expanding his skill set, making the most of the work experience opportunity, and to doing an excellent job. He was enthusiastic to learn new skills from colleagues, and asked useful questions to keep his work on track. He took feedback on board to develop in the role, and it was great to see both his skills and his confidence grow. We really enjoyed having Colin on the team.”

Colin’s experience in his Work Placement, has proven to have a tremendous impact, he has enhanced his employability skills and experience and is motivated to use this to gain another employment opportunity in the immediate future.

Multitek Construction Ltd

Over the past year our Skillset service has been engaging with local companies and organisations to review and revise their recruitment methods. One company that needed very little adjustment and proved that alternative measures can and do work was Multitek Construction Ltd in Dungannon, Co Tyrone.

Multitek Construction is a ceilings and walls specialist with over 25 years’ experience in Ireland, UK and Western Australia. It is owned and run by Sean and Collette McPeake who are passionate about building and retaining a skilled, experienced, and diverse workforce.

Having advertised a Quantity Surveyor position, one of our Skillset employment officers approached the company with a potential candidate, a graduate QS who was seeking a post where he could learn from their experience and hone his skills. Given the candidates specific needs, an unorthodox approach to recruitment was needed in order for him to best portray what he can do and who he is. Sean and Collette, quickly liaised with us and invited the candidate for an initial informal chat, rather than follow an application process and formal interview format.

With the support of his employment officer the candidate attended and had an extensive discussion in a low-key relaxed environment. This allowed the company to gauge the potential employee at his best, as well as outline the needs and duties of the role, without the formalities and restrictions of a traditional interview. It also allowed the candidate to discuss his expectations of the role and his needs as an employee, in an environment that catered to lowering his anxieties and allowed him to show the best version of himself.

This is only one example of how a simple adjustment in the recruitment process can open a door for someone who ordinarily may have fallen through the cracks at the shortlisting stage of the traditional method, due to a missing piece of criteria on the restrictive application forms. Or at interview stage, due to formal panel interviews that are difficult for those with processing issues.

It is also a great example of how a forward-thinking company such as Multitek Construction, have worked closely with organisations such as ours to ensure that they do not miss out on highly skilled and extremely motivated workers such as those we engage with and support to employment.

P. Keenan Quarries

Cedar SkillSETis continuing to work with P. Keenan Quarries in Magherafelt. Keenan’s have highlighted the main benefits of the partnership with Cedar as:

  • having access to a pool of prospective employees they wouldn’t normally meet through regular recruitment avenues
  • having support to understand and implement flexible recruitment practices; which has helped them realise the potential of disabled candidates and gave him the confidence to approach recruitment in different ways
  • having ongoing support following recruitment, drawing on Cedar’s expertise of disability and supports available to employers

About Us

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SkillSET is an innovative project aimed at providing specialised employment preparation and training for targeted groups in Northern Ireland, particularly those with disabilities and/or health conditions.

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