A Londonderry community worker says 95 long-term unemployed people have been placed on two-year paid work placements following a £3.3m investment through the Social Investment Fund (SIF) anti-poverty pot in the North West.
The Foyle Community Work Programme is designed to improve employment prospects for the unemployed and particularly the under 25s and aims to provide tailored training to participants and subsequent placements with a view to linking training and education to securing employment.
The project was prioritised by the SIF Steering Group for Londonderry in their Area Plan.
Ciara Ferguson, Manager of Greater Shantallow Area Partnership told a celebration event, that the scheme is working.
The Partnership is leading the initiative and Customized Training Services have been appointed to deliver it.
“This event is to celebrate 95 long term unemployed people securing two –year paid employment and a new future,” she said.
“The Foyle Community Work Programme is the first of its kind in the city and it aims to remove barriers that local people face in accessing mainstream employment. “The programme ensures that people facing the biggest barriers to work will get intensive support they need which in turn will strengthen families and strengthen local communities,” she added.
Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness said: “The £3.3 million funding provided to Foyle Community Work Programme through the Social Investment Fund provides opportunities for people to develop and enhance their skills and increase their employability.
“Tackling unemployment is a key element of the Social Investment Fund and this programme will equip and enable people to follow their chosen career.
“Finding local solutions to address local challenges the Foyle Community Work Programme will benefit not just individuals and families but the entire community.
“I wish everyone involved in the Foyle Community Work Programme continued success for the future.”
Since Going Live in July 2015, the Foyle Community Work Programme has successfully created the opportunity for 95 long-term unemployed people to secure paid employment guaranteed for two years.
In addition all 95 participants have had the opportunity to avail of training and educational qualifications to improve their skills and future employability. Training is offered in a vast range of qualification; from essential skills in numeracy, literacy, and ICT, environmental, manual handling, health and safety, childcare, catering, administration, caring, sports development, first aid, painting and decorating skills, forklift truck and learning to drive. The list is endless! For many this is first time they have achieved accredited qualifications.
39 local host employers across the city have volunteered to assist the running of this exciting programme by offering work placements all areas of the city, both urban and rural. The type of jobs on offer range from drivers, caretakers, administration, environmental, childcare, family support, health & wellbeing, marketing, retail, graphic design, carer, museum operator, receptionist and youth worker.