Consultation On New Employment Programme Launched

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry today launched a public consultation on a proposed new employment programme for Northern Ireland.

The new programme, which has been called provisionally Steps 2 Success (NI), will replace the Department’s main adult return to work provision, Steps to Work, which was introduced in September 2008. The Steps to Work programme has been successful in meeting its targets to assist unemployed and economically inactive people to find and sustain employment against a backdrop of high unemployment and low economic growth.

Minister Farry said: "My Department is committed to helping unemployed people in finding and sustaining work and the proposed new employment programme will seek to build upon the success of Steps to Work. My Department has also reviewed other employment programmes delivered, both in Great Britain and further afield, to take account of the lessons learned so that the new programme can take the best of what exists elsewhere, and tailor this to meet the needs of clients in Northern Ireland.

"The expiry of the current Steps to Work contracts in 2013, together with the continuing rise in unemployment, the high level of economic inactivity and the introduction of Universal Credit, make this an opportune time to consider a new employment intervention which will build on the performance of current employment programmes and help more people to find and sustain employment."

Dr Farry added: "A strong emphasis of the proposed new employment programme, Steps 2 Success (NI), will be to ensure that jobseekers have access to the help and support they require to assist them move into sustainable employment. The new programme will create stronger incentives for providers to assist those participants who are further from work, targeting those most in need."


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