Belfast Telegraph

Extra European funding to boost skills of east Belfast's unemployed

By David Young

Unemployed people in east Belfast will be offered opportunities to gain skills needed for the modern workplace through a new £300,000 European programme.

The Jobs4u initiative will be delivered by the East Belfast Mission's Stepping Stone Project.

The programme will be financed by the European Social Fund for three years. It will seek to engage with jobless and economically inactive people and provide relevant training.

Minister for Employment and Learning Stephen Farry announced the funding.

He said: "I welcome this investment in east Belfast during these difficult economic times. It is critical that we do all we possibly can to help and empower people in disadvantaged areas, such as Ballymacarret or Short Strand, by providing the necessary resources to enable them to improve their employability skills and support them in finding jobs."

The investment is in addition to the £160,000 funding made available earlier this year by Mr Farry's department to deliver the Local Employment Intermediary Service (LEMIS) in east Belfast.

LEMIS provides tailored assistance to help unemployed people overcome barriers to employment, helping them to find and hold on to a job.

Many of those involved may have been out of work for some time. LEMIS helps individuals with specific employability barriers, such as homelessness, ex-offenders and those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction.

Mr Farry said the additional European funding would complement LEMIS.

"My department is committed to helping people prepare for, and enter into, the labour market," he added. "Through the jobs4u programme and LEMIS we are specifically targeting those individuals in areas of disadvantage and most need in east Belfast."