Belfast Telegraph

Farry commends RAPID success

Stormont Executive press release - Department for Employment and Learning

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry today commended the progress of the Rapid Impact Programme in East Belfast.

RAPID was developed jointly by GEMS NI and Penna Consulting and is delivered through the Department for Employment and Learning’s Steps to Work programme. Participants on the programme benefit from gaining new skills, training and work experience opportunities and a guaranteed job interview at the end of their placement. The programme also aims to build the confidence and motivation of participants.

Speaking at a RAPID breakfast event in City East, Minister Farry said: “I commend the work carried out by GEMS NI and Penna Consulting in delivering this innovative initiative and helping people who are out of work improve their prospects of gaining and sustaining employment.”

The Minister continued: “Successful engagement with local employers to develop tailored provision within the programme, in line with both employers’ and participants’ needs, is a vital part of this process. This pro-active approach to sourcing employment opportunities will complement the existing Steps to Work provision in South and East Belfast.

“Steps to Work helps address the very real difficulties faced by those who are out of work. It is initiatives such as RAPID that have contributed to the success of the Steps to Work programme.”

The ten week programmes consists of two weeks of confidence and motivation training including personal mentoring sessions with experienced career coaches, briefings from major employers and help with CV preparation, interview techniques and personal presentation. This is followed by an eight week work experience placement.

Bryson FutureSkills is the lead contractor for Steps to Work in East and South Belfast. Liam McNeill from Bryson commented: “Bryson FutureSkills have a long experience in working with GEMS NI and we are delighted to have been able to support them as our sub-contractor and their partner Penna to make RAPID available through Steps to Work. We look forward to seeing more Steps to Work customers benefiting from this exciting programme:”

Heather Robinson, a participant on the first Rapid Impact Programme, said: “The Rapid Impact course has literally changed my life. I have achieved confidence and experience, met new friends and gained a supportive network. It's been the best ten weeks of my life.”

Notes to editors:

1. Steps to Work is a key employment programme for the Department for Employment and Learning and plays a pivotal role in helping those who are out of work to find a job. Since its launch Steps to Work has helped over 23,500 people secure unsubsidised employment.
2. Bryson FutureSkills is the Strategic Business Unit within Bryson Charitable Group responsible for the provision of training, employment and learning programmes for school leavers, long term unemployed and the economically inactive within the Greater Belfast and Newtownabbey areas. The organisation was established in August 1989 and delivers programmes within the Greater Belfast area (specifically North, South and East Belfast), Newtownabbey and the Foyle area of Londonderry and employs 86 people.

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