Sodexo Ireland is one of the 14 Irish companies who have come together with the Irish government to establish the Open Doors Initiative, which will assist vulnerable groups in Irish society in gaining access to employment.

The initiative works by providing those involved with workplace, training and employment experience. Country president Margot Slattery along with Maurice (Mossie) O’Donovan were present at the launch with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, on Thursday 27th September in Dublin.

Each company has signed a pledge that commits them to running at least one specific programme of support. A goal of supporting 50% of people who complete the programmes into paid employment, apprenticeships or further study has been set.

Set-up costs for the first year will be provided by Diageo Ireland, while a secretariat will be provided by Business in the Community Ireland. Positive2work Skillnet and IBEC are supporting partner companies. Other supporting partners such as the Disability Federation of Ireland and the Immigrant Council of Ireland will lend their support and expertise to employers and those participating in programmes organised by individual companies.

Mossie O’Donovan has worked for Sodexo Ireland for over 20 years. He was introduced to Sodexo by Carriglea Cáirde Services in Dungarvan, Waterford, which provides services to adults with intellectual disabilities. Mossie officially joined Sodexo in 1997 as a food services assistant based at GSK in Dungarvan, and was honoured with a Long Service Award by the company at a gala reception in London last year.

The Open Doors Initiative will promote diversity and inclusion in the workplace, with an initial focus on three disadvantaged groups:

  • Refugee, asylum seekers and non-native English speakers
  • Young people under 25 with educational barriers
  • People with mental ill health, or a physical or intellectual disability

Margot Slattery, country President, Sodexo Ireland, said: “As part of Sodexo’s commitment to diversity and inclusion in the workplace, we are already supporting and working with several organisations like One Family, EmployAbility, Seetec, the National Learning Network and Carriglea Cairde Services. We’re looking forward to sharing our learnings and experience with our fellow partners in the Open Doors initiative.”

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