Assembly inquiry into facilities for disabled young people

Sperrinview Special School Dungannon.INTT4012-318SR
Sperrinview Special School Dungannon.INTT4012-318SR

The Assembly Committee for Employment and Learning has visited Armagh and Dungannon to see the range of facilities available to local young people with learning disabilities leaving full-time education.

Members visited the Appleby Trust, Armagh and Sperrinview Special School and Oakridge Social Education Centre in Dungannon as part of an ongoing Committee inquiry, which takes an an in-depth look at the availability of further education, employment and training opportunities for young people with learning disabilities.

Speaking after the visit, Committee Chairperson Robin Swann MLA, said: “For many young people, the transition into training, further education or employment can be daunting; for those with learning disabilities, it can be a particularly challenging experience.

“We are therefore keen to get out into local communities to hear at first hand from young people and their families about how effective and accessible current services are and about any existing gaps in provision.

“Our visit to Armagh and Dungannon today gave us a very useful overview of the range of provision available for young people with varying levels of need. It was also very valuable to get the opportunity to meet and speak directly to staff, parents and young people about their individual experiences and the challenges they face.”

Mr Swann concluded: “My Committee is very aware that this is not just an issue for the Department for Employment and Learning; it cuts across many Departments and agencies, therefore we feel strongly that a co-ordinated approach is essential.

“We will be working hard to ensure that, at the end of this inquiry, we will be able to bring forward a robust set of recommendations to ensure that every young person with learning disabilities in Northern Ireland can get the extra help and support they need to achieve their full potential.”