Image: David Somers, Irish Deaf Society; Careers Project Lead, Mary Quirke, PhD researcher, School of Education, and Career Guidance Consultant Leslee O'Loughlin, Group HR Manager, Enterprise Holdings.

The six-week programme took place in March and April of this year.

It and saw seven participants working alongside staff in Enterprise Rent-A-Car to learn about recruitment, gain insight into different workplace environments and develop skills and competencies to help them enter the workforce.

At the same time, 50 Enterprise staff members, from senior management to new hires, participated in Deaf Awareness Training to help educate them about the Deaf community.

The report revealed that participants in the programme valued individual-focused learning, acquiring valuable skills, and accessing opportunities for professional growth and development.

100% of participants believed they were part of something new.

The report was published by the Irish Deaf Society and Enterprise Rent-A-Car to mark International Week of Deaf People 2023.

"The unemployment rate in the Deaf community is far too high at 20% and Enterprise was privileged to be able to donate our time, people and expertise to help increase access to the workplace for this group," said Leslee O'Loughlin, Group Human Resources Manager at Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

"We also learned so much from this initiative, including how to make our own working environments more accessible," Ms O'Loughlin said.

Elaine Grehan, Advocacy Manager at the Irish Deaf Society, said the testimonials of those who took part in the programme were both heart-warming and gratifying.

"A member of the Enterprise team made the comment that 'there is so much untapped talent in the Deaf Community," Ms Grehan said

"This is something we at the Irish Deaf Society have known for years and we hope this report will help us break down some of the barriers to work that currently face Deaf people and let Irish businesses know that this amazing talent pool is ready and waiting for them," she added.

Press: By Brian O'Donovan | Work & Technology Correspondent RTE