Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey today met with a number of organisations who benefitted from her Department's Pound 20million Employment and Skills Initiative which has created over 300 jobs and training opportunities.
The initiative has already funded 202 new three-year posts across the voluntary and community, heritage, arts and sports sectors and by September a further 100 new placements across the creative sector will have been created.
The Minister visited The Designerie, a social enterprise which supports artists in Bushmills followed by a visit to Destined in Derry, which supports people with learning disabilities and then onto Employers for Childcare in Lisburn, all of whom were successful in their application through the scheme.
Representatives from each of the organisations told the Minister about the positive impact the funding has had on the services they provide to the communities they support. The Minister also had the opportunity to meet and speak with new employees who are being supported through the scheme.
Minister Hargey said:
"I am delighted to hear first-hand how funding from my Department is supporting the creation of new posts and skills development across the Voluntary & Community, Sports, Arts, Heritage and Creative Industries sectors. There is a clear need for support and investment in these sectors and this is evidenced by the high volume of applications through this scheme and that is why I doubled the funding of this programme to Pound 20million.
"This initiative is timely, not only will it help the sectors recover and grow following the pandemic, but it also provides employment and training opportunities for individuals and support to much needed organisations within our community as they are faced with a range of challenges as a direct result of the cost of living crisis.
"These sectors play a huge part in all our lives, they are vital to the health and wellbeing of society and also to the growth of our local economy and I am pleased that my department has been able to provide this much needed financial support."
The scheme, launched in January of this year, was designed to support job creation and skills development in the Arts, Voluntary and Community, Sports, Heritage and Creative Industries sectors.
Recruitment is well underway, with:
* 72 jobs being created in the Arts sector;
* 27 jobs being created in the Sports sector;
* 27 jobs being created in the Heritage sector;
* 76 jobs being created in the Voluntary & Community sector;
* 100 placements in the Creative Industries sector.
It is currently anticipated that all new employees will be in place by the end of October.