£300,000 drive to aid city jobless
Unemployed people in east Belfast will be offered more opportunities to gain the 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 in the area and provide relevant training.
Minister for Employment and Learning Stephen Farry 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-prisoners or ex-offenders and those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction.
Mr Farry said the additional European funding would complement LEMIS.
He said: "Through the jobs4u programme and LEMIS we are specifically targeting those individuals in areas of disadvantage and most need in east Belfast. We are working in partnership with local community organisations to make a real difference to individuals' lives in these areas by supporting them in finding employment. We will continue to work with community-based organisations on a range of initiatives which are designed to have a positive effect on local communities."