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New Initiative in County Westmeath to Help People with Disabilities to Advance

21 March 2013

A new free assessment, career guidance and job-seeking service has been launched by the National Learning Network in County Westmeath. The Personal Employment Pathway service (PEP) aims to provide support and assistance to people with disabilities who are looking to advance their careers by gaining further qualifications or obtaining employment. National Learning Network is inviting people to join the programme which has commenced in its centre’s in the Blyry Industrial Estate, Athlone and Fair Green House, Mullingar.   


To secure a place on the programme participants must be aged between 16 and 65 years of age; be in receipt of a disability benefit payment such as disability allowance, invalidity pension, injury benefit, illness benefit, blind pension, disablement benefit, and incapacity supplement and be resident in County Westmeath. An outreach service in communities will be available for those who are not in a position to attend one of the urban centres. Participation in the service does not affect social welfare payments.   


The PEP service, which will be delivered by National Learning Network facilitators, will include a one-to-one assessment of the participant’s individual needs, career planning, job-seeking skills, and training and education supports. Adrian Stewart, Regional Manager, National Learning Network, explains, “Our instructors will work with each person individually to identify their strengths, weaknesses and skill gaps before drawing up a tailored education and training plan. Here in National Learning Network we focus on a person-centred approach and we put a strong emphasis on identifying and finding solutions to any personal barriers and challenges that are preventing the person from returning to employment.” 


The programme is part of the Department of Social Protection’s Disability Activation Project which is jointly funded by the European Social Fund and the Department of Social Protection and managed by Pobal.


For more information on the programme please contact:  086 1740793 or 090 6475297(Athlone) /044 934 5117(Mullingar) web: or email


About National Learning Network in Westmeath. 

National Learning Network has three centres in Westmeath. Two of the centres are located in Athlone – in Golden Island and in Garrycastle – and one in Mullingar. Accredited by FETAC (the Further Education and Training Awards Council) and ECDL (European Computer Driving Licence), training is funded by FÁS and the Health Service Executive for people out-of-work through accident, illness or disability. The three centres currently cater for 150 learners throughout the county. 

National Learning Network, in partnership with the Health Service Executive, also runs flexible and innovative courses for school leavers with disabilities/learning difficulties who wish to make the transition from education to a work placement or employment. Learners focus on personal, social and work-related skills to enable them to progress to greater levels of independence and participation in the community.