The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness and Junior Minister, Alastair Ross today attended a breakfast meeting to celebrate the achievements to date of the ‘West Belfast Works’ project which is supporting people into employment across West Belfast and Shankill area.
The Social Investment Fund project, which is funded by the Executive’s Delivering Social Change fund, is providing valuable training and paid work placements to unemployed and underemployed people in the area to enhance their potential for employment and support them into jobs.
Speaking at the event, the deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness said: “The Executive has invested almost £3.3 million through this project to support up to 1,000 people across West Belfast and Shankill area.
“This is not just about headline figures but families and the wider community. These families will benefit directly and indirectly from the personal and professional development this initiative provides people.
“I commend the local people of West Belfast and Shankill who came together and, through the Steering Group, developed West Belfast Works. I thank the West Belfast Partnership Board and the Upper Springfield Community Development Trust and its partners involved in delivering the project on the ground.”
Junior Minster Ross also praised the progress to date: “The Northern Ireland Executive’s Social Investment Fund has made significant progress with £70million now committed and £44million worth of projects underway across Northern Ireland. The ethos of the Fund is about empowering communities to identify their own needs and develop proposals to address them.
“West Belfast Works is a prime example of how that innovative approach has delivered and how it is making a difference for the better, for all of the people involved and for the entire community. This project is not just the Northern Ireland Executive’s success, this is a real example of what can be achieved when communities and government work together to create a better future.”
At least 200 people will be given paid work placements for 51 weeks, 153 people are already in their placements and the remaining placements have been committed by employers.
Up to 700 people will be provided with valuable training to either help them progress in their current employment or to help them to secure the necessary skills, experience and training that will help them get a job.
263 people are receiving training and 51 people have secured jobs as a result to date. This is in addition to 87 who are in the paid work placements but also receiving training.
A local cross community consortium led by Upper Springfield Development Trust and including Springvale Learning, Impact Training, Shankill & West Job Assist Centre’s, Business in the Community and Neighbourhood Renewal Partnerships are delivering the project which is managed by West Belfast Partnership Board.
Notes to editors:
- Media enquiries to The Executive Office press office on 028 9037 8201. Out of office hours, please contact the duty press office via pager number 07699 715 440 and your call will be returned.
- Delivering Social Change is the Northern Ireland Executive’s framework, set up to tackle poverty and social exclusion. It aims to deliver a sustained reduction in poverty and associated issues across all ages and to improve children and young people’s health, well-being and life opportunities thereby breaking the long term cycle of multi-generational problems. For more information go visit The Executive Office website.
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