Two months ago, the Roe Valley Chamber of Commerce had a discussion about how to help small businesses in the borough to become more digitally aware, helping school leavers with work experience before they became unemployed and encouraging more interaction with current businesses and those on Steps to Work seeking work placements.
Chamber secretary, Betty McNerlin, said it was subsequently decided that North West Lifelong Learning (NWLLA) would attempt some work experience involving the use of social media, Roe Valley Chamber members and the local business area, “in an effort to see if this could be a potential employment area, either as part of a full-time job or as a part-time alternative with our own local businesses being willing to take an unemployed person onto their books under supported employment for six months”.
“The pilot falls under local, regional and national initiatives to increase the skills of our population in the use of ICT,” said Ms McNerlin.
“Consultations with Jobs & Benefits in Limavady and the Steps Contracts Manager from Roe Valley Education Forum, who are the main provider of the Steps to Work programme in Limavady, resulted in four persons from the programme being recruited as Social Media Angels as part of their work experience. There are eight persons in total on the project and the other four have already been recruited from those currently volunteering with NWLLA.”
So how does it all work?
“The Angels already know how to use many different forms of digital mediasuch as Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc – that was evident from the standard of those who volunteered to come on the project. What they will learn from this work experience is the ability to target those skills towards a more commercial base and a more focused marketable product,” explained Ms McNerlin.
“The Angels will do six weeks completing direct marketing using the frameworks set up by the two team leaders. This can be followed using the RoeValleyLife Facebook page for the immediate future (ie until the end of June).
“It is then proposed that local employers who either use Facebook, or might consider using Facebook and/or Twitter, are persuaded to take the Angels on for the final seven weeks of the work experience and let them see if increased sales or market exposure is indeed the case.
“The results of the project, statistical analysis and outcomes will be written up and available for all interested parties to use as a forum for lobbying or applying for grant aid, support or otherwise from any agency they so wish.”
Ms McNerlin added that the project is not receiving any funding support from any agency and is being supported 100% by resources within NWLL Ltd, who are an independent ICT Social Enterprise, supported by a Board of Directors who are determined to make a difference within our own local Borough.