The North West Regional College has been granted funding for a pilot project to train 600 local unemployed people.
The request for up to £10,000 was approved by Derry & Strabane Council’s Business and Culture Committee this week, as it emerged half of all adults in local Neighbourhood Renewal areas don’t have qualifications to access employment.
The committee was told by Head of Business, Kevin O’Connor, that the funding would go towards the costs of a new Vocational Training Programme, which will be delivered in the community.
The programme will provide accredited vocational courses for 600 adults from Greater Shantallow, Greater Galliagh, Brandywell, Bogside, Creggan, Fountain, Waterside and Strabane areas, with almost 250 already enrolled and the rest to join in September.
Research across these areas has revealed that between 44% to 54% of adults do not have qualifications to access employment.The Committee was told that “clearly this has a huge impact on the quality of life for individuals and communities”, and that “furthermore, if this is not addressed the North West will remain an unemployment black spot”.
Courses include tiling, painting, numeracy and literacy, food safety and safeguarding children. The free courses will involve the council supporting accreditation/ examination fees..
Sinn Fein Councillor Mickey Cooper said he has been involved in discussions for a very long time to try and find a way to address the gap for people trying to gain employment. He said: “Some of the expertise lies with the North West Regional College and this is about getting that into communities, improving access and more importantly improving job prospects.”