Business Action on Employment

Business creating inclusive employment

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 and refugee backgrounds. Immigrants and refugees 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 also support women to return to the work force or enter it for the first time by connecting with businesses.

We have impacted the lives of over 3,000 people from 101 nationalities, 68% 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  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:

  • A practical approach to developing a social inclusion strategy
  • Recruitment from non-traditional sources provides access to a more diverse future talent pool
  • Access to volunteering programmes
  • Improved reputation and trust with local communities
  • A diverse and engaged workforce
  • A clear signal to employees of commitment to a key national issue
  • Training opportunity for staff when it comes to leadership and mentoring
  • Measurable impacts and detailed reports

How are the services delivered?

We have a range of employment programmes:

EPIC works with people from migrant or refugee backgrounds and features pre-employment training, one to one guidance and opportunities for work experience.

Ready for Work helps people with disabilities and health challenges and provides guidance, work experience and in-work supports.

The Women@Work programme supports women to return to the work force or enter it for the first time by connecting with businesses. It provides a next step for women who have already participated in existing high quality employability programmes but who have not yet found suitable employment. Women@Work is jointly funded by the Department of Justice and Equality and the European Social Fund (ESF).

Businesses click here

Job seekers click here

Referral agencies click here


EPIC Programme is part supported by the Department of Justice and Equality and the European Social Fund (ESF) as part of the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020.

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

The Women@Work programme supports businesses striving to reduce barriers to work for women. It is jointly funded by the Department of Justice and Equality and the European Social Fund (ESF).