196 Young People Supported Through our ‘Work IT’ Programme
The outstanding achievements of our ‘Work IT’ training and employment programme were recognised at a recent celebration event. Since 2015 the ‘Work IT’ programme, which is managed by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and funded by The Executive Office Social Investment Fund has supported 196 young people from the Newry, Portadown, Lurgan and Coalisland areas to gain valuable work experience and qualifications.
The aim of the ‘Work IT’ programme was to give those most removed from the labour market a bridge to the world of work by improving participants’ skills and general employability. The core feature of the programme was participants gaining paid work placements during which they could build on their confidence and self-esteem and also avail of the training and personal development opportunities available through the programme. Programme participants completed 352 accredited qualifications during the three-year programme.
One participant, Noeleen, commented on her experience “My time on the Work IT project was the best 48 weeks of my life, I received so much support and encouragement and Carla (Project Manager) was a rock. I loved everything about my time on the programme, I only wish it lasted longer. I have found confidence and self-esteem and most importantly I am now in employment following my work placement.”
A spokesperson from The Executive Office said, “The Social Investment Fund is designed to find solutions to deliver real, lasting benefits for communities that need it most. With eighty per cent of people who completed a work placement securing permanent employment and over three hundred and fifty accredited training qualifications achieved, it has empowered local people to change their lives for the better. Through the Social Investment Fund, the NI Executive invested £2.7 million in this project and it is great to see how this has really benefitted those most in need across the SIF Southern Zone.”
Overall, 500 community projects were also completed by participants enabling them to ‘give something back’ to their local communities as well as develop their own skills. The community projects included reimaging, arts and crafts, community events, gardening, health and wellbeing, training, summer schemes and sports activities.
The Chief Executive of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Liam Hannaway commended the accomplishments of the programme and noted, “Each participant that has availed of the opportunities offered by the ‘Work It’ project have their own stories of personal and professional success to tell and the closure event captured a snapshot of these accomplishments.”
Carla Campbell, Programme Manager, said “The Work IT programme has been such a success and one which we are very proud to be a part of. We would like to thank The Executive Office, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and all the employers and community organisations who supported our projects and participants through their journeys.”
Well done to everyone who was involved in the great success of this programme.
The Work IT Programme is funded by the Social Investment Fund Southern Zone, is delivered by Network Personnel and managed by Newry, Mourne and Down District Council to eligible participants/groups in Newry, Portadown, Lurgan and Coalisland.