Bryson: Bridging the gap to employment

titanicwithtext Unemployment in Northern Ireland is growing fast, quickly becoming the highest in the devolved administrations (7.8 per cent), but alarmingly, one in five young people are unemployed and without the prospect of a job. Cathy Wilson from Bryson FutureSkills gives an insight into how Bryson is tackling this growing issue through innovation and partnerships.

Bryson FutureSkills, is part of the Bryson Charitable Group, Northern Ireland’s leading social enterprise and committed to building better futures for all those that we work with. The organisation has recently been awarded a new contract to manage and deliver the ‘Steps to Work’ programme in the Foyle area. This is our third contract and adds to our existing provision of Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) flagship adult training programmes in North Belfast and Newtownabbey and South and East Belfast.

Driven by innovation

Bryson FutureSkills’ approach is focused on the development of skills and creating employment opportunities. Our staff are working with and supporting over 700 clients each day. Our work is ‘client-centred’, and identifies what skills they need to develop and provides support with securing a job.

Many of our clients are in the situation where they need work experience to get a job and the problem is getting that experience in the first place. We believe strongly that work experience is vitally important and have worked very hard to build partnerships with a range of employers from Belfast to Derry to provide real-life work experience and apprenticeship opportunities.

Even in these difficult economic times, there are job opportunities out there and our staff through commitment and determination work to bridge the gap between our unemployed clients and our employer partners to connect them in a way that results in a win-win for both parties. In the last year, 57 per cent of our clients participating in Pre-Employment Programmes in South and East Belfast have moved into sustainable employment. These are real success stories and make a dramatic difference to improving our clients’ lives; not only financially but in their confidence, motivation and self-esteem.

Employer focused

Employers are facing difficult financial decisions and increasing costs. We work closely with a network of employers and work hard to provide solutions for them in terms of employment opportunities. We have recently launched two new initiatives, First Start and Step Ahead 50+ that are supported by DEL through the steps to work programme and create opportunities for both the employer and the person seeking work. These new initiatives are available from Bryson FutureSkills in the Greater Belfast and Foyle areas.

Employers can choose the programme that best fits their need from the following:

Participating employers receive a financial incentive to take on new staff. This provides a valuable resource for the employer and is a fantastic help to our clients in gaining meaningful and valuable on the job experience.

First Start Step Ahead 50+
Targeted at 18 to 24 year old clients where 80 per cent of salary costs are provided through employer subsidy from DEL. Targeting clients aged 50+ where 100 per cent of salary costs are provided through employer subsidy from DEL. Available for voluntary and community sector organisations.

BRYSON-FutureSkills_CMYK For more information on the new employment initiatives to help support your organisation, please call Shauna McGrath or Phyllis Morgan on 028 9071 2408 or email or has a link to its building better futures DVD where you can hear first hand from some of our clients and learn more about the work of the group

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