27/07/2005

Positive 'New Deal' report welcomed by Minister

A programme encouraging unemployed people here to consider self-employment has been most successful according to a report published today.

The New Deal Self-employment route was initially introduced by the Department for Employment and Learning in 1998.

Highlighting the positive findings of a consultancy evaluation of the programme commissioned in 2004, Employment and Learning Minister Angela Smith said: "It is most encouraging to note that the survey sample of 200 current and past participants of the New Deal Self-employment programme shows that 66% are now in self-employment or employment.

"In addition, these former participants are employing a further 28 people in their businesses creating further job opportunities in the local economy."

Emphasising the continued role that the Department had to play in encouraging social inclusion and building economic prosperity, the Minister concluded: "These are positive findings and they emphasise the need for a change in our approach to intervention programmes tackling unemployment, employability and economic inactivity to reflect corresponding workforce change in Northern Ireland.

"Whatever the route to success we will continue to be flexible and provide support to help people into the world of work."

The New Deal Self-employment route was initially introduced in 1998 within the New Deal for 18-24-year-old's programme and over subsequent years has been extended to all New Deal groups including lone parents and, most recently, partners of benefit claimants.

(MB/SP)

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