At the formal launch of the Employ Me employability programme at Southern Regional College’s Newry Campus on Thursday 7th September, 80 guests including local businesses, community organisations and elected representatives were updated on initial progress made and future plans.
Employ Me is a two-year employability programme providing training, employability and wraparound support for Economically Inactive people aged 16+ to reduce barriers, develop skills, achieve qualifications and enhance employability to enable progression to employment/self-employment. Special emphasis is given to participants who have a disability, are aged 50+, women returners, those in, or at risk of entering, the justice system, single parents and carers.
Southern Regional College is the lead delivery partner for the programme. Together with community lead partner Clanrye Group and organisations Community Advice and Women’s Aid Armagh Down, partners are working to evolve the lives of participants. Since the programme commencement in April 2023, 270 participants have enrolled, with 62 securing employment and 41 undertaking volunteer opportunities, and a further 15 commencing work placements. To date, participants have undertaken 137 training courses. Courses with Southern Regional College are due to commence this month meaning these figures are set to rise.
Since the programme’s conception, partners have been working with employers to ensure the programme’s delivery is mutually beneficial. Learning points from the past five months have been taken into account to ensure both employers and participants have they support they need. This includes bridging the gap from being economically inactive to employment through taster work placement sessions, providing participants with the skills and confidence to develop.
During the event, emerging themes from participants journeys were reflected on. Ongoing wraparound support, such as counselling has been seen as vital to ensure participants succeed.
Libby Shackels, Director of Curriculum at Southern Regional College commented:
“Southern Regional College (SRC) remains committed to widening participation of those who face significant barriers to education and training including those economically inactive, those with learning difficulties and disabilities, those from under-represented groups in society and those not in employment or training.
The Employ Me programme is an example of how the College aspires collectively to create a dynamic ecosystem where partnership with community is a key priority. SRC is delighted to have secured funding from the UK Shared Prosperity People and Skills fund to bring forward a new and innovative approach to provide training and employability wrap around support for people in both the Newry, Mourne & Down, and Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Council areas. This funding will help economically inactive people, aged 16+ to achieve their career aspirations and personal goals.”
Liam Devine, Chief Executive Officer at Clanrye Group further commented:
“Together we can do so much more. In the challenging times that we are in, now is the time to set aside old ways of working and embrace change, partnership and growth. It is our intention to do just that and I look forward to working with SRC and our fellow partners Community Advice and Women’s Aid Armagh Down.”
We are actively seeking participants to join the programme, so if you are interested or wish to find out further information, please email email@example.com.