The Employment initiative “Let’s Work”, funded by the Executive Office’s Social Investment Fund (SIF) under the Delivering Social Change framework, has helped 79 people gain employment since it commenced in October 2019. The project received £1.68m investment from SIF to help address employment related issues in areas of socio-economic need across Northern Ireland.The programme sought to widen access to jobs, improve skill levels and increase personal confidence.
Specialist upholstery and fit out business, Abbey Upholsterers, has provided six placement opportunities in a range of job areas including administration,
warehousing, and manufacturing. Five placement participants have been offered employment.
The family run company based in Carrickfergus, has an incredibly dedicated and talented team of over 100 employees and it has worked with some of the world’s
leading 5-star hotel properties, including Galgorm Resort, Midlands Hotel, Manchester and The Shelbourne, Dublin. The placement students received first-hand
quality training and guidance from a professional team, gaining new skills that would prepare them for employment. Recently they have been named the
Federation of Small Business (FSB) Northern Ireland Family Business of the Year 2020 and will now enter the UK finals of the awards.
Carrickfergus Enterprise provides strategic leadership to the scheme with employability specialists, Network Personnel, taking forward the operational
delivery of training and placement provision. The project is set to complete in March 2021 and has successfully placed 160 participants from the top
10% or 20% socially disadvantaged areas including: Larne, Ballymena, Carrickfergus, Newtownabbey, Antrim, Coleraine, Magherafelt, Cookstown, Moyle
and Ballymoney into paid employment placements.“Let’s Work” is tailored to the suit the individual needs of the participants skills and host employers.
This project aims to make positive changes to people’s lives and contribute towards addressing some of the key barriers in employment.
Necole Donaghy, Mentor at Network Personnel said: “We are so pleased with the progress the participants have made during their time at Abbey Upholsterers. The pandemic presented a unique challenge to the viability of the project, but the management team and staff there have been very supportive and really accommodating, especially when it has come to the training. The on-the-job upskilling and mentoring have been invaluable, and it has been demonstrated through the success of job security for the participants.
“Having a business that is prepared to offer placements and job reassurance for people who live locally is so encouraging and proves that collaborative partnerships have huge benefits. We could not run the programme without businesses like Abbey Upholsterers and we are so grateful to have them onboard as a host.”
Judith Neill Commercial Director from Abbey Upholsterers said, ‘The ‘Lets work’ programme provided Abbey Upholsterers with a great opportunity to support local people and provide training and prospective employment.The participants strived to learn respective skills and we were delighted to be able to offer employment.The scheme provides training courses to upskill the participants which has resulted in mutual benefits for ourselves as hosts and the individuals concerned. I would thoroughly recommend the scheme to other employers.