£1.7m boost from social investment fund aims to increase employment rates

Orla McStravick, director of infrastructure at the Executive Office, Alex McKee, programme manager of Let’s Work, and David McIlhagger, vice-chair of Carrickfergus Enterprise, with participants Matthew Witherspoon and Natasha Kenny

EMPLOYMENT initiative 'Let's Work' has received £1.7m in funding from the Executive's Social Investment Fund under the Delivering Social Change framework.

The programme aims to increase employment in areas of socio-economic needs across the north, and has welcomed a more than 50 per cent participation since the scheme launched in September.

Carrickfergus Enterprise is project managing the scheme alongside employability specialists Network Personnel, and it is set to be completed by December this year as its aims to engage with up to 160 participants from the top 10 per cent or 20 per cent socially disadvantaged areas.

They include Larne, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey, Antrim, Coleraine, Magherafelt, Cookstown, Moyle and Ballymoney.

The employment training programme will widen access to job opportunities and create meaningful pathways to employment.

The goals of the project include, reducing the number of unemployed people in the Social Investment Fund Northern zone, improve skill levels of long term unemployed, and increase personal confidence.

In just over three months, 53 per cent of 160 participants are positively benefitting from Let's Work, and the next year will see further engagement to support people to enhance their skills, encourage training accreditation and convert work placements into full time equivalent roles.

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