Disability Employment Support Service

About the Disability Employment Support Service (DESS)

  • The Disability Employment Support Service (DESS), based within the Equality & Human Rights Unit, provides dedicated support and guidance to disabled staff and line managers at the Education Authority.
  • We recognise that for many disabled people, their work can play a significant role in their life, their social interaction and fulfilment.
  • DESS aims to:
    • Support colleagues in EA Corporate Services who have, or who acquire, a disability;
    • Support colleagues in schools who have, or who acquire, a disability;
    • Support the employment of disabled people in EA through supporting colleagues in EA Resourcing and developing and embedding placement schemes; and
    • To support and build the capacity of line managers to support their colleagues.

Types of Support Available

  • DESS support a range of disabilities and long-term conditions, including:
    • a physical disability, for example hard of hearing or use a wheelchair;
    • a learning disability or related condition, for example Down’s syndrome;
    • a developmental condition, like autism spectrum disorder;
    • learning difficulties or differences like ADHD or dyslexia;
    • an illness such as diabetes or epilepsy;
    • a temporary condition, like a broken leg;
    • a mental health condition, for example anxiety or depression.
  • Depending on your individual circumstances, and any information provided such as an Occupational Health report, there are a wide range of support adjustments which may be able to be put in place, for example:
    • Specialised equipment;
    • Communication support;
    • Changes to how the role is carried out.

Reasonable Adjustments

  • Following a request for support, and the individual needs of the employee, a Disability Passport may be created.
  • This is a key document which sets out the adjustments that have been put in place to support a disabled staff member.
  • It is reviewed on a regular basis, which allows the staff member and line manager to make sure adjustments are working as effectively as possible.
  • It also means that if the staff member changes jobs within EA, your new line manager will be aware of this information and can support accordingly.

Useful Contacts, External Organisations, and Support

The EA works in conjunction with outside bodies to provide help and support to disabled employees, and those seeking employment with our organisation. 

Access to Work

Disability Action

Employers for Disability NI

Workable NI Programme

Workable Programme in Northern Ireland, Action on Hearing Loss

Other organisations representing people with disabilities

Action MS

Knockbracken Health Care Park
Saintfield Road
Belfast BT8 8BH

Tel No: 028 9079 0707

Email: info@actionms.co.uk

Arthritis Care Northern Ireland

1 Shore Road
25 Randalstown Road
Antrim BT15 3PG

Tel No: 028 9078 2940

Email: nireland@arthritis.care.org.uk

Aware NI

40-44 Duncairn Gardens,
Belfast BT15 2GG

Tel: 028 9035 7820

Email: info@aware-ni.org

Website: https://aware-ni.org/

Disability Action

Portside Business Park
189 Airport Road West
Belfast BT3 9ED

Tel No: 028 9029 7880

Email: hq@disabilityaction.org

NI Dyslexia Centre

17a Upper Newtownards Road
Belfast BT4 3HT

Tel No: 028 9065 4670

Email: info@nidyslexiacentre.co.uk
Email: hq@disabilityaction.org

Website: www.disabilityaction.org

DESS Contact Details

For further advice and support please contact the Disability Employment Support Service:

Last updated: 10/10/2023