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New employability service to benefit care leavers

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Ministers Michael McGimpsey and Sir Reg Empey have launched a new employability service for looked after children and care leavers aged 16 to 21.

The South Eastern Trust Employability Service aims to enhance their career aspirations by giving them greater confidence to take up and sustain employment. It will help them to break down barriers to employment, offer skill development and focus on training and employment.

This new service, which is being mirrored across all five Trusts, is a holistic employment and skills model which will work at both the supply and demand side of the labour market with young people and employers. The service will strive to meet the needs of the young person through the provision of

  • a one-to-one impartial information, advice and guidance service in partnership with Department for Employment and Learning’s (DEL’s) Careers Service;
  • a placement and job brokerage service; and
  • a range of employability initiatives in training, personal development, lifelong learning and volunteering.

Speaking at the launch at the Ulster Hospital, Health Minister Michael McGimpsey said: “I greatly welcome this innovative approach by the South Eastern Trust in helping a vulnerable group of young people access the same employment opportunities as their peers.

“The new Employability Service will do just that and that is why my department has invested £1million in the service.

“This will serve as a factor in improving overall health and wellbeing to break the spiral into unemployment, homelessness and despair too often experienced by the young people in, or, leaving care.”

Employment and Learning Minister, Sir Reg Empey, said: “This is an excellent example of joined-up working between Departments and demonstrates our commitment to this vulnerable group of young people, by working closely with the Health and Social Care Trusts, in improving their outcomes and aspirations.

“My Department’s Careers Service offers advice and guidance which ensures that these young people have access to the right information about their future.”

Mr McGimpsey concluded: “My Department is committed to improving the lives of children and young people in care, and care leavers. The ‘Care Matters’ strategy outlines a cross departmental vision for improvements in services to reduce the number of children who need to be in care and improve outcomes of those who do.

Notes to editors:

1. The South Eastern Trust Employability Service will provide a range of services for young people in those categories who qualify for services under the Children (Leaving Care) Act 2002 directly and in partnership with a number of key stakeholders in the employability field.

2. Care Matters in Northern Ireland; a Bridge to a Better Future was launched for consultation in March 2007. The Northern Ireland Executive endorsed the strategy in November 2009. Further information on the strategy can be found on the DHSSPS website.

3. The South Eastern Trust Employability Service will offer a range of services;

  • South Eastern Trust Career Pathway Scheme;
  • Careers Advisory Service;
  • Employability Mentoring;
  • Accredited and non-accredited training programmes;
  • Work placements and work experience opportunities;
  • Vacancy board for both employed jobs and volunteer jobs.

4. Media enquiries to DHSSPS Press Office on 028 9052 0505, or out of hours contact the Duty Press Officer via pager number 076 9971 5440 and your call will be returned.