Employment East

SIF provided funding of over £1.36m for an employability initiative to put in place a programme of actions to improve access to employment and self- employment in East Belfast by improving the skills of local people, supporting access to the labour market and progression within employment and targeting the most disadvantaged areas and people in East Belfast. Includes training and paid work placements.

Project Name:

Employment East


Belfast East



Social Investment Fund Outcome:

Pathways to Employment


Delivery Complete

Funding awarded:


About the Project

This was an employability initiative which was designed to establish a programme of actions to support access to the labour market and progression within employment and leave East Belfast with an enhanced capacity to undertake such initiatives in the future.

The project initially set out to deliver 4 main objectives including creating:

  • a Flexible Training Fund (identifying appropriate training and support participants to complete training and where applicable obtain qualifications);
  • an Intermediate Labour Market (ILM) subsidised work placement and support programme (supporting participants to develop business plans and provide bursaries to purchase start up materials);
  • a Self-Employment Programme; and
  • an Employment Forum (bringing together local businesses, large public sector bodies, trade unions and community/voluntary interests to identify future employment opportunities and trends; identify skills need within its sectoral membership; provide project participants with work placements, interviews and route into citywide employer initiatives for East Belfast clients).

Eligible participants were provided with mentoring support, employment and self-employment advice, opportunities to access skills and personal development training and self-employment/business start-up support and an opportunity to secure a 26 week paid job placement with a host employer.  Support and advice was also available to those working part-time or in entry-level jobs to upskill and improve their career prospects. 

An Employment Forum, managed by Business in the Community, supported the project through a dynamic platform that supported, encouraged and enabled employment opportunities for participants. It supported pupils in 5 local primary and 5 post-primary schools to engage with the world of work. This included industry visits for school participants and business leaders/employers engaged directly with schools.

The project also delivered 3 successful job fairs bringing participants and employers together to explore current employment opportunities.

Progress to date

This project has completed delivery. It has delivered and has brought improved employment mechanisms and support structures to better enhance the community in East Belfast. There was a high level of employment and economic related outputs and outcomes achieved for participants across all elements of the project.  Since the start of the project, 218 participants completed training courses and 79 undertook job placements. In addition, 23 participants of the Self Employment Programme completed business plans and were awarded a bursary. Overall, this was a successful project, which has contributed to improving access to employment opportunities, helping people to develop their skills and increase their employability within the Belfast East SIF Zone. The creation of new networks, enhanced capacity, partnerships and collaboration between employers, schools and community-based stakeholders will help support future similar employability and economic focussed initiatives within communities in East Belfast.


Monitoring and evaluation of all Social Investment Fund projects is carried out using “Outcomes Based Accountability” (OBA). The infographic below details some of the key impacts of the SIF Employment East project.

Final Revenue Infographic - Flexible Training Strand
Final Revenue Infographic - Flexible Training Strand

Final Revenue Infographic - Self Employment Strand
Final Revenue Infographic - Self Employment Strand

Final Revenue Infographic - ILM Strand
Final Revenue Infographic - ILM Strand

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