The best way to describe the impacts of our programmes is to hear from one of our clients.
Since 2008, EPIC has worked with over 2,600 unemployed people from 101 countries, building their skills and confidence and helping them integrate in Ireland. Over 1,000 of these have progressed into paid employment, with a further nearly 700 taking up training, education, intern and volunteer roles, all of which are recognised as important progress towards employment.
These two stories would describe best the impact of the program:
Palwasha is originally from Pakistan and came to Ireland in 2008 on a spouse visa to join her husband. He came to Ireland to do his Masters in Computer Science and got a job offer immediately after completing the studies. Looking at her husband’s progress, she was very hopeful for her future in Ireland.
Palwasha has a Bachelor’s Degree and Masters Business and Finance with a distinction and gold medal. Being a high achiever in academics and having work experience in the sector, she thought that getting a job in Ireland shouldn’t be too difficult. This said, it took her 7 years to find work.
After living in Ireland for 3 years, Palwasha got the status needed to work without any restrictions. She applied to hundreds of jobs but was unsuccessful and couldn’t understand why was not called for interviews.
Palwasha found the EPIC Programme doing an online search and immediately got enrolled. Attending the mock interview with CPL helped her to further her interview skills. The training and individual support boosted her confidence by learning the skills needed to create a successful CV and Cover letter and to present herself in a professional manner. She also was able to get references and guidance on taxation issues and rights and entitlements regarding working in Ireland.
She is now in full-time employment with a leading financial company.
As told be her at EPIC programme graduation in September 28th 2016:
“My name is Ebere and I am originally from Nigeria and a naturalised Irish Citizen. I arrived in Ireland in 2003, got the stamp 4 in 2005 and then my citizenship in 2012. It has been a long journey and very hard at times.
From the start, I tried to learn more about the country and the culture. In Nigeria life was shared together with the members of my community and here in Ireland, I was alone and felt very isolated at the beginning. It was me and my kids then. I was on my own.
After getting my leaving certificate in Nigeria, I worked as a Clerical Officer with the government and got a Higher National Diploma in Banking/Finance. When I moved to Ireland, I decided to complete other studies to further my knowledge and up- skill. I completed FETAC level 5 in Office Skills, ECDL training, and other qualifications in finances and sales. In 2011, I completed a Higher Diploma in International Business and Sales. Sometimes combining the studies with looking after the kids was a challenge, especially when they were younger. Eventually I got to meet some people and having neighbours and friends helping me, made a big difference.
In all these years I was really focused on preparing myself for employment, applied for many jobs and also I did work experience. I worked as a sales advisor for a period of time but somehow, I didn’t succeed on my applications to gain employment in administration, my area of interest and passion.
My neighbour recommended me to get in touch with the EPIC Programme and from the beginning the team encouraged me and raised my motivation. The training helped me to get energised and positive while I learned more about how to apply for the jobs I wanted.
I attended the IT training with BT and I understood how important it was to refresh my knowledge. Different recruitment agencies asked me to complete tests in the use of Microsoft Office as part of the selection process for the roles I applied for. My score was always 85% and up and such results gave me great confidence.
The mock interview with CPL helped me to understand the areas where I needed to improve and identify my own strengths. I came to understand that each interview was a process of learning. Taking part in the workshop with Enterprise-Rent-A-Car provided me with more practice on difficult interview questions. I gained more confidence and also learned from other classmates.
In May, I got a job in the Government and I know this a stepping stone for me. It was a long process and I was supported by the EPIC team in all the stages until I got the positive news. I am learning a lot and gaining wide experience in my job. I have been able to get to this level today because I have believed in myself. Aside of the circumstances, it is possible to make it and keep motivated.
My kids are now 16, 15, 13, and 7 years old and I see a bright future for all of us. Ireland is different now and I feel more at home. I have been able to meet wonderful people from Ireland and from other countries especially in the church where I worship. Sometimes the pastor says that the church is now of many colours, before it used to be only white Irish church. The diversity makes it more interesting and I am happy to say that now I have very good Irish friends whom I call family.
The support of the EPIC Programme was key to secure employment. It helped me to be more confident and develop the ability to face challenges.”