Bright future for Newbuildings woman
NEWBUILDINGS woman, Elizabeth Bell, is among the first candidates from the district to reap the benefits of a programme to help long-term unemployed people to get back into work and get a feel for business.
Single mum Elizabeth, who has been unable to find full-time work since completing her degree in business studies & marketing, has taken the first steps into self-employment, after completing the Exploring Enterprise Programme (EE2P) through North West Marketing Enterprise Agency. She has started her own wedding stationery business and has already secured her first order.
EE2P gives unemployed people a first insight into starting a business and a foot up onto mainstream business support programmes. It is part-funded by the European Social Fund, the Department for Employment and Learning, Enterprise NI and the local Enterprise Agencies under the NI ESF Programme 2007-13.
Elizabeth explained why the programme was so valuable to her. She said, “Having applied for lots of different jobs, I was only able to secure part-time work, so I decided to look into starting my own business. I have been making cards and stationery for friends and family for years now, but what I really want to do is bespoke wedding invitations. The Exploring Enterprise Programme has given me the kick start I needed to get this off the ground as a business and I am now working towards my first wedding in the summer.”
North West Marketing has delivered a comprehensive training and development programme which gives candidates a formal CCEA qualification, as well as developing essential skills and improving confidence.
Carrie McCafferty from the Enterprise Agency said, “Through the Exploring Enterprise Programme we hope to create a pool of new business talent within Northern Ireland’s most deprived communities. Candidates don’t need to have a specific business idea to join. The programme provides an insight into starting a business and gets candidates thinking about the possibilities within their grasp. We can then help them take the next steps to help them fulfil their ambitions.”
Elizabeth said, “The Programme gave me the insight into how I could market myself, what is required to set up a business and how to research the market to find out what other people are doing. The big question for me was, could I still do this and keep the part time job on as well, since it pays the bills. I am hoping that eventually this will develop into my full time job.
“In addition to showing me how to go about setting up my own business, the Programme has given me extremely useful CV advice and interview skills which really boosted my confidence to apply for other jobs. Carrie is a great support and I can lift the phone and bounce ideas off her.
“If there’s anyone out there in the same boat, looking for work, I would say to them, look into this course. Even if you don’t have a business idea or qualifications, it gives you so many important skills, increases your self-esteem and provides you with a really valuable experience that you can’t under-estimate.
Carrie McCafferty said, “Elizabeth has worked hard to get to this point. Through the programme she has been given the skills, insight and confidence to turn something that was just a hobby into a business. By opening her mind to new ideas and thinking differently, she is now starting to see this as a viable business opportunity and thinking about ways to grow it. We wish her all the best.”
Gordon Gough, Chief Executive, Enterprise Northern Ireland said “It is encouraging to see that almost 450 people have completed the Exploring Enterprise2 Programme to date and in doing so they have increased their employment capabilities. In the current climate it is vital that people have the skills and networks to grasp employment opportunities and start their own business. Growing the private sector is a key component of the Northern Ireland Economic strategy and EE2p is right at the heart of this.”
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Weather for Londonderry
Wednesday 22 May 2013
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