New teaching jobs to boost literacy
More than 200 teaching and healthcare jobs are to be created in Northern Ireland over the next two years as part of a new £26 million initiative.
The First and Deputy First Ministers said the six projects included in the Delivering Social Change Framework will help improve numeracy and literacy, tackle poverty and deprivation, and provide much-needed employment for graduates.
Speaking at Stormont, Peter Robinson said: "We want everyone to be equipped with the skills to strengthen our economic growth and for everyone to benefit from our mainstream education, health and employment programmes.
"Without even the most basic educational qualifications many of our young people find it a struggle to get a job and create a better life.
"The additional support being provided for literacy and numeracy will tackle this problem head-on and help our young people obtain the qualifications to find work. It will also provide 230 young unemployed teachers with an opportunity to get teaching experience while contributing to raising educational achievement."
The six projects being rolled out over the next two years include the employment of 150 recently qualified teachers to deliver one-to-one tuition in English and maths to Year 11 and 12 post-primary school pupils who are not projected to get a C grade.
A further 80 new teaching graduates will also be given a two-year contract to tutor primary school pupils struggling with reading and maths. Up to 50 health workers are being recruited to run £2 million parenting programmes for 1,200 families living in areas of social deprivation.
Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: "Today's announcement is about working together in new ways across departments and in partnership with the community, businesses and wider society. The aim is to make a tangible difference, particularly for our children and young people, over the next two years."
Education Minister John O'Dowd backed the multimillion-pound investment in posts for 230 recently qualified teachers.
Mr O'Dowd said: "This morning's announcement will be welcome news for many recently qualified teachers, securing valuable teaching experience for 230 over the next two years."