25/01/2002

Belfast GEMS to create community jobs

A major new jobs initiative has been launched which is set to benefit unemployed people in South and East Belfast.

Belfast GEMS is a local employment initiative which will focus on providing access to jobs with businesses situated within the Gasworks and Laganside sites. Developed in consultation with the communities of South and East Belfast, GEMS will provide individuals with personal guidance, support and assistance in the process of seeking employment.

Firm targets have been set for the scheme which will commence in January with a full programme of events and activities. During this ‘pilot’ phases, Belfast GEMS will aim to recruit 600 unemployed people to the project, place at least 290 unemployed people in work, build up relationships with at least 200 employers in the Laganside area, stage Job Fairs and deliver a Teacher Placement Programme.

The project’s first major undertaking is a Jobs Fair in St George’s Market on Tuesday January 29. With 50 employers taking part – mostly from the Laganside area – the Jobs Fair offers a wealth of employment opportunities.

Speaking at the launch of the initiative, Tony Hopkins, Chairman of Laganside, welcomed the Belfast GEMS as a breath of fresh air on the employment scheme. He said: “This is a highly practical initiative designed to answer the needs of local people by providing precisely the kind of services and support network they tell us they need. Belfast GEMS will help unemployed people to equip themselves for employment opportunities which, although they may be situated on their own doorsteps, currently seem out of reach.” (CL)

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