Returning to work following a period of illness or while dealing with the effects of physical or mental trauma can be one of the most difficult periods of a worker’s career. To assist workers finding themselves in this position, Congress is now offering training and support as part of a pilot scheme in the Border, Midlands and Western region. The scheme is open to workers with a disability or long-term illness seeking new employment as well as those wishing to return to their previous work. Programme Manager and Congress official, Sylvia Ryan, told Liberty:“The Disability Activation Project is targeted at people with a disability, aged 16 to 65 years, and receiving disability/illness welfare payments. “The project aims to increase the capacity of people with disabilities in a range of personal development, Information Technology and work-related programmes. The courses run over six weeks with a two-week work placement.” The courses are held in Congress resource centres around the Border, Midlands and Western region, with 390 places available from January 2015. Some of the peoplewho have taken the course have gone on to become course trainers within Congress centres. Payments are also available to employers to off set some of thecosts of bringing a worker back into the workforce and new employers can also avail of a wage grant subsidy. SIPTU Organiser and Disability Committee member, Michelle Quinn, said: "We very much welcome this Congress initiative. It is essential that where possible workers have help in returning to their work or finding new employment after a period of illness orwhile coping with a disability.” She added: “If properly supported the vast majority of workers wish to return to workplace activity no matter how severe the obstacles may seem. It should be a priority that SIPTU organisers and activists familiarise themselves with what is on offer through this Congress initiative so members who could benefit from it are given the opportunity to participate." For further information see or contact ProgrammeManager, Sylvia Ryan at