Last Wednesday Cregagh Community Centre launched a new job club aimed at developing participants’ employability skills and confidence.
The scheme, originally planned for young adults aged 16 to 20, is now open to everyone as the organisers recognise that long term unemployment currently affects all ages.
The mayor of Castlereagh, Jim White addressed attendees at the event and said the scheme was hugely important as unemployment is a big problem in the area.
He said: “It is difficult especially for young people to break into the employment market. The more help people can get from their communities, councils and organisations the better.”
This scheme is funded through the Department for Social Development's Regeneration programme and delivered by Gems. This organisation was created in 2002 to address the issues surrounding unemployment and economic inactivity in east and south Belfast.
The job club will help participants to build a professional CV, complete job application forms and practice interview techniques which will enable them to gain employment.
Gems outreach practitioner for east Belfast, Aileen Graham will be available every Wednesday at the job club to provide information, advice and guidance and to ultimately help those stigmatised by unemployment to regain their confidence.
She said: “The aim is to remove barriers to employment and get people closer to the labour market.”
Aileen stressed that if the job club is to be viable and a success local people must attend the sessions and avail of the services provided. As an incentive to encourage attendance the community centre agreed anyone who spends an hour at the job club will get either an hour on the astro turf pitch or a treatment with a local beautician at the |centre.
Castlereagh Councillor Tommy Sandford, who is also chairman of Cregagh Community Association, was enthusiastic about what the project could bring to the local area. He told those present that to help make the job club a success the onus lay with them to tell family and friends who might benefit from the services.
He said: “Cregagh Community Association are delighted and excited to be able to work with Castlereagh Council and Gems on such a positive and proactive project.”
Councillor White concluded that he wished all participants success with gaining future employment and added: “I trust participants in the scheme will develop the skills and confidence they need.”
Castlereagh council intend to roll out the new scheme across the borough but the job club is not exclusively for the Cregagh community. People from across the Castlereagh area are welcome to use the services. The job club will run every Wednesday from 1pm to 4pm, contact 9033 2313.