Belfast Telegraph

£300k project aims to create jobs for east

A new scheme to help the “most disadvantaged people in east Belfast get back to work” has been launched this week — and backed by a £300,000 investment.

Minister of Employment and learning Stephen Farry announced the launch of the ‘Jobs4u’ on Tuesday August 9, — a programme that is to engage with unemployed and economically inactive people and develop and improve their training and employability skills needed to enter the labour market and sustain employment.

Dr 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 programme is financed by the European Social Fund for three years and will be delivered by the Stepping Stone Project run through the East Belfast Mission.

The investment is in addition to the £160,000 funding made available in April 2011 by the Department for Employment and Learning for delivery of the Local Employment Intermediary Service (LEMIS) in east Belfast.

Dr Farry added: “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.”

Local DUP MLA Robin Newton said: “In welcoming this investment my concern is that the training will lead to participants getting real jobs.

“Training just for training’s sake leads to increased levels of frustration. If the trainee is unable to progress into a real job and ends up signing on again the whole investment becomes pointless.

“We need to see the results that will allow those without a job and living in the deprived inner city area and the large housing estates getting the opportunities that will help secure their future wellbeing.

“People need the skills that will enable them to get onto the first rung of the jobs ladder. And they need the support to help get the interviews and the job experience that will help them secure and keep a job.”

East Belfast MP Naomi Long said: “The Jobs4u scheme will help people gain the skills to enter the labour market. Jobs are scarce in the current climate and for those furthest from work is it crucial that we invest in preparing and training them to be competitive for the jobs that are available.

“This is exactly the type on initiative that is needed to help boost the economy.

“East Belfast has historically been a key driver of the Northern Ireland economy and I believe that it will remain so with the right investment in its people.”

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