A new employment initiative has been launched to help takle unemployment in Derry and other areas across the north.
Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry today announced the introduction of a new employment initiative ‘Step Ahead 2012’ as part of the Steps to Work programme.
The Department secured £1.2million of funding in the January monitoring round and the initiative will be available immediately. It will allow 500 short-term employment opportunities to be offered for unemployed people within Community/Voluntary sector organisations.
Minister Farry said: “Addressing the issues of youth unemployment and the growth in long-term unemployment are key issues for our economy. Having secured additional funding from the Executive, I welcome the valuable employment opportunities that this initiative will provide across Northern Ireland, particularly in areas of high unemployment such as West Belfast, North Belfast and the Foyle area.
“I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the important work that the Steps to Work providers and local Community/Voluntary groups carry out. With the help of this initiative I hope that many of the participants are able to successfully use this as a route into permanent employment.”
Step Ahead 2012 will provide employment lasting up to 10 weeks and will be targeted at:
o 18 to 24 year olds in receipt of either Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit or Employment and Support Allowance for three months or more
o Lone parents in receipt of either Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit or Employment and Support Allowance, with no qualifying period; and
o 50 year olds and over in receipt of either Jobseeker’s Allowance, Income Support, Incapacity Benefit or Employment and Support Allowance for three months or more.
These three groups are considered to be particularly disadvantaged in finding work in the current economic climate.