Belfast Telegraph

Employer-backed scheme helps to upskill long-term unemployed

By Clare Weir

Twenty long-term unemployed people are being given the chance to upskill and find work thanks to a new initiative in Belfast.

Business in the Community's Strive 2 Work programme has completed its pilot phase with the help of leading employers BT, Firstsource and LBM, in which participants underwent intensive four-week training which will hopefully equip them with job interview opportunities

Participant Annemarie Flanagan said she was encouraged to see the employers' interest.

"They helped us see how things such as being on time, showing motivation and developing a sense of loyalty to a company were all things an employer is looking for," she said.

"Going for the interview went straight for my nerves but I was able to apply some of the skills I learned in the training."

Michael Murray, head of customer management at BT, added: "At BT we were delighted to support this pilot phase of Strive 2 Work. As a responsible employer we want to set the lead in helping those who have extreme barriers to employment. The pride on the faces of those who participated is reward in itself and I truly wish them every success."

Deirdre Timoney, Strive 2 Work programme manager, said that the scheme is "fast paced".

"It consists of an upfront, focussed training programme, helping those actively seeking work to develop their skill set," she said.

"This initial phase was aimed at those long-term unemployed who fall within the Government's Local Employment Intermediary Service.

"Funded by the Department for Employment and Learning, we hope to expand its reach with the next tranche of candidates starting in October."

Strive 2 Work trainees are helped with job application paperwork by their mentor, Aoife Logue

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