Larne jobs fair to give a major boost to jobless people

AN upcoming Jobs, Careers and Training Fair is set to provide a major boost for unemployed people in the borough next year.

The initiative, due to take place at Larne Town Hall on Tuesday, February 19, is part of a series of actions led by Larne Borough Council in response to the job cuts at FG Wilson and the levels of youth unemployment in the area.

The announcement was made by Councillor Martin Wilson and Jim Russell, deputy director of employment services for the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), at Willowbank Rural Conference Centre in Millbrook on Friday.

Councillor Wilson highlighted the local authority’s commitment to working in partnership with DEL, LEDCOM and other bodies to help address unemployment in the Larne area.

He added: “Earlier this year we held a very well attended Youth Opportunities Fair at the Northern Regional College in Larne with a wide range of employers, DEL support staff, training organisations in attendance. Since that event, the major job reductions at FG Wilson have been announced and in the wider Mid and East Antrim area there have been further job losses since then, such as those announced by the Patton Group.

“As part of the response to these situations and the need to do as much as we all can to help people find employment and work opportunities. Larne Borough Council, through the Development Forum, and in partnership with DEL and LEDCOM, will be hosting the 2013 Larne Jobs, Careers and Training Fair.”

Speaking at Willowbank on Friday, Mr Russell said: “I welcome my Department’s association with this Jobs, Careers and Training Fair, which brings employers, support organisations and jobseekers together under one roof.

“DEL’s careers service and employment service will be exhibiting at the event and will highlight all of the support available from the Department including the Youth Employment Scheme. This new scheme assesses the skills of unemployed young people and matches them with participating employers. It is focussed on helping those young people aged 18 to 24 who are ‘job ready’ to get a firm foothold on the career ladder by offering placements and job opportunities.”

The announcement at Willowbank coincided with an event marking the success of 19 local people who completed a number of Exploring Enterprise programmes across Larne, gaining in the process a CCEA Level Two qualification in Understanding Business Enterprise.

Larne Deputy Mayor, Councillor Mark McKinty acknowledged the Exploring Enterprise programme’s success in the Larne area and congratulated everyone involved in the programme.

“Larne Borough Council is committed to local economic development and to doing all that we can to help tackle unemployment through initiatives such as Exploring Enterprise,” he added.

One of the local people celebrating her success on the programme, Gillian Mills spoke of her experiences on the Exploring Enterprise programme.

“I have had an idea to start my own business for some time but it always seemed such a huge step to take and there was so much I didn’t know about how to start up and run the business,” she said.

“The Exploring Enterprise Programme helped to give me the motivation and courage to go for it and I am now established and open for business with my recording studio, Red 7 Entertainments, which is based at Stylux Industrial Estate in Larne.

“The programme was great for providing knowledge about various aspects of business and access to networks that were vital in my start up process. The follow-up mentoring was particularly useful after I had started up in helping me to focus on my marketing plan and how to promote myself and generate more sales leads.

“I know that running the business will be challenging but the Exploring Enterprise programme has given me the confidence to give it my all, and I am looking forward to the future with anticipation.”

Patricia Brennan, Exploring Enterprise Programme Manager at LEDCOM felt the Exploring Enterprise programme delivered many positive outcomes for those who take part.

She added: “It aims to help people into sustainable employment or self-employment through mentoring, training and by gaining a recognised qualification. I’m delighted that the programme has achieved and exceeded its objectives.”

The next Exploring Enterprise programme will take place in Larne in January, and is open to anyone currently unemployed or working 16 hours a week or less. Contact Patricia Brennan at LEDCOM on 02828270742 or for further information.