What is an Educational Support Worker (ESW)?

An Educational Support Worker provides individual assistance to students with disabilities to assist them on a part time basis to help them fulfil their academic potential.

Examples of this support include note-taking in lectures for students who are unable to write or use a computer, assisting students with a significant physical disability with mobility around the campus and accessing facilities in the university, and providing  Sign Language Interpreters for students who are deaf/ hard of hearing.

An Educational Support Worker may be recommended for a student during their initial needs assessment with a member of the Disability Support Service team.

Subject-specific support

Subject-specific support provides students with one-to-one instruction to enhance the students' understanding of content covered in a specific class or course.

The DSS can only approve subject-specific support in cases where a student is prevented by reason of their disability from attending and benefiting equally from his/her core lectures or class tutorials. For example, students who are deaf or severely hard of hearing are fundamentally disadvantaged in a lecture setting. Students with mental health conditions or a significant on-going illness may be occasionally absent due to their disabilities.  

The DSS is obliged by the terms of the European Social Fund to provide subject-specific support to qualifying students to ensure equity of participation in their education and that it does not grant students an unfair advantage over their peers.

Students may be asked to provide a medical certificate before subject-specific support can be provided.

To request subject-specific support, contact DSS at disabilityservice@nuigalway.ie. In your email, outline the circumstances that have prevented you from attending or benefiting equally from your lectures. If you have been absent for reasons related to your disability, state the duration of your absence and the extent of the course work you missed out on.

Notetaker

The Notetaker records accurate and detailed notes on content delivered in lecturers or tutorials for a student who due to the impact of their disability is unable to take their own notes e.g. students with sensory disabilities.

For more information on the role of a notetaker please see pages 7-8 in the  Educational Support Worker Handbook.

All notetakers who work with students in NUI Galway are employees of Servisource.

Personal / Academic Assistant

Personal / Academic Assistants assist students with a disability with educational support requirements that the students cannot complete independently.

The duties and responsibilities of the Personal Assistant should be discussed with the student and the Disability Support Service.

Responsibilities of a Personal/ Academic Assistant:

  • may be required to assist with mobility and orientation around the college.
  • may be required to assist with educational tasks, sourcing library books, photocopying, etc.
  • be required to take notes for a student in class.
  • may be required to assist with carrying personal belongings, books, folders and materials for the student.
  • may be required may be required to assist the student during meal times at university.
  • may be required to assist the student with personal needs.

For more information on the role of a Personal/Academic Assistant please see pages 9-10 in the  Educational Support Worker Handbook.

All Personal /Academic Assistants who work with students in NUI Galway are employees of Servisource.

Applying to be an Educational Support Worker

Outline of ESW Roles recruited by the university:

Tutor – Subject-specific /Learning Support

Academic tutors instruct students on a one-to-one basis in order to further explain material covered in a specific class and subject. Academic tutors typically work with a student through the progression of a course and dedicate a few hours each week to meet with the student and explain any course material which the student is having difficulty with.

Person Specification

  • A tutor should have knowledge of the module / subject including changes, assessment procedures and credit rating of assignments and other subject specific information.
  • Previous experience in tutoring or teaching is helpful.
  • Preference is given to individuals with a history of postgraduate study or currently in postgraduate study who have advanced knowledge in the subject for which tuition is provided.
Assistive Technology (AT) /IT Assistant

An AT/IT Assistant is a person who can cover some or all of the following:

  • Assist students who have substantial difficulties setting up the student CASS account, logging onto and using Blackboard, downloading/uploading documents to and from the Web, accessing student email and attaching documents, file organisation, printing and photocopying, using Word to complete course work.
  • Assist students who need training with specialist equipment such as digital dictionaries, digital recorders, Smartpens and/or TextHelp Read and Write software.
Alternative Format (AF) /IT Assistant

An AF or IT Assistant is a person who can cover some or all of the following:

  • Assist students who have substantial difficulties accessing or producing print material by assisting the student in obtaining relevant documents in the Library, from departments, tutors or from other sources, and helping the student to arrange for these materials to be converted into an appropriate format (Braille, enlarged print, machine-readable format).
  • Assist students who need training with specialist equipment in order to access print or spoken material.
  • Assist students who have substantial difficulties accessing spoken presentations (lectures, seminars, films and videos) by providing typed transcription of audio or video recordings

For more information on applying to be an ESW please click ESW Handbook

Administrative Enquires regarding how to apply to be an ESW,  contracts, timesheets, payroll, garda vetting should be forwarded  to disabilityservice@nuigalway.ie

How to Apply

Check out the website from the end of July on the application process for the acadmic year 2016-17. A panel of ESW’s is formed at the start of each academic year.