Shankill Enjoys Jobs Opportunity Boost

Job and promotion opportunities for almost 200 people from deprived areas of west Belfast has been hailed as the result of an award-winning employment programme.

The first initiative of its kind, the West Belfast and Greater Shankill Health Employment Partnership was developed by local community based organisations, the trade union UNISON and Belfast Health & Social Care Trust.

Within the local communities, the initiative was supported by the Employment Services Board, Job Assist Centres in West Belfast and Greater Shankill, local Area Partnership Boards and the Employer's Forum.

It was established three years ago in the Shankill Road area (pictured) and has since helped unemployed people to 'skill up' so that they could get hospital jobs.

It has also provided training for lower-paid hospital workers so that they could move up the ladder through career progression, thereby creating vacancies for those coming behind to secure a job.
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Some 143 people have got jobs with the Belfast Trust – most of these people had experienced long-term unemployment and other barriers to getting jobs while 316 lower-paid staff in the Trust have received additional training to help them develop their careers, and 36 of these staff have already obtained promotion.

It is believed that the added economic impact on the local economy in West Belfast and the Greater Shankill is as much as £1.48m each year.

Economist John Simpson, who saw this project develop out of the original report of the Task Forces, congratulated the different agencies on the successful outcomes from the Partnership: ''The Partnership has created a simple and very cost effective method to give some existing employees an opportunity to progress to better paid jobs and, in parallel, to prepare and recruit people to fill the vacancies after being unemployed or outside the labour market.

"The economics of the initiative, in terms of value for money, are impressive.

"The cost per job created, at £4,606, is less than other Government schemes," he said, noting that the cost is easily outweighed by the improved earnings potential of the people who get the jobs and, for the public sector, by the reduced social security payments."

For full story, see: Good News On Jobs For Shankill


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