One of the most pressing societal issues in Ireland is the continued unemployment rates for marginalised people. The gap continues to widen even as we emerge from recession. Business in the Community Ireland through its Business Action on Employment tackles two key societal issues: integration and social inclusion.
We work with people with immigrant or refugee backgrounds. Immigrants arriving in Ireland face significant barriers to integrate within Irish society. Cultural differences, lack of recognition of qualifications, absence of Irish work experience are some of their key challenges.
We also work with people facing a range of barriers, for example, experience of homelessness or people moving on from addiction, mental health problems, people who have been out of the ‘mainstream,’ which can leave them with low confidence and fears as to whether they can fit in the workplace again.
We have impacted the lives of over 2,200 people from 100 nationalities, 69% of our clients have found jobs or entered training or are volunteering.
We have also impacted the lives of over 500 people with homelessness backgrounds. Close to 60% of those completing their work experience have since started working and almost all participants have said that the programme has increased their confidence and motivation for finding employment.
Businesses are uniquely placed to make an impact on this societal issue. From offering work experience opportunities to mock interview skills and mentoring, the impacts on people’s lives can be transformative as can the impacts on volunteering employees themselves.
Companies who join the network can access our Business Action on Employment programmes. Members including Marks & Spencer, Boots, KPMG, Accenture, Oracle and Transdev have all participated in this area. BT and CPL have provided dedicated IT and mock interview support since 2008.
The benefits to companies are significant:
Business Action on Employment is delivered via our two programmes.
EPIC works with people from immigrant or refugee backgrounds and features pre-employment training, one to one guidance and opportunities for work experience.
Ready for Work helps people with high barriers to employment and provides training, guidance and guarantees a supported work experience in a company.
EPIC Programme is funded by the Office for the Promotion of Migrant Integration under the Department of Justice and Equality and co-financed under the European Social Fund Human Capital Investment Operational Programme 2007-2013
Ready for Work is funded by the Department of Social Protection and Marks & Spencer and is also delivered in 19 locations through Business in the Community in the UK