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 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 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 three 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.
RISE- Refugees Integration, Skills and Employability- supports refugees and asylum seekers with work permits to understand, appreciate and integrate successfully into Irish society and to facilitate language acquisition. A longer term goal is to help the participants progress to education or employment.
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.
RISE is part supported by the Department of Justice and Equality under the National Fund for the Promotion of Integration of Migrants
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