BITCI welcomes Minister O’Gorman to discuss future of employment programmes

BITCI News - Apr 17, 2024

Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) took the opportunity to discuss the future of their EPIC and Women@Work employment programmes with Roderic O’Gorman TD, Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth on his visit to BITCI today.

These successful employment programmes, funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth support refugees, asylum seekers, newly arrived Ukrainians and women returners in their efforts to secure sustainable employment and further their integration.

A unique feature of these programmes is the direct involvement of businesses. The corporate partners offer mentoring and work placement opportunities as well as training to improve the jobseeker’s skills and career development prospects. In addition, individualised career guidance advice along with information on job seeking strategies, assistance with CV and interview preparation is all provided.

Tomas Sercovich, BITCI CEO said “BITCI have been running successful employment programmes since 2002 and the need is even more acute than before. Against a backdrop of increasing racism and xenophobia, employment is the single most powerful integration tool. Creating inclusive workplaces dismantle negative prejudices, guarantees the workforce is more reflective of the diversity within our society and enables jobseekers to integrate into their local community. BITCI calls for increased investment in sustainable employment programmes such as EPIC and Women@Work to continue tackling barriers to employment facing certain groups.”

Our EPIC programme has been operating since 2008 and has worked with approximately 4,000 refugees and asylum seekers from across the globe, including newly arrived Ukrainians. From the 2023 cohort, 79% have progressed into employment, training and volunteering opportunities. Our smaller Women@Work initiative has empowered women distanced from the labour market to regain their confidence, develop a professional network and be mentored by other successful women.

Tomas Sercovich, BITCI CEO added “Real employment barriers exist for certain groups despite employers highlighting difficulties in recruitment. If the Government is committed to its Comprehensive Employment Strategy continuity of these dedicated and curated programmes is vital to help remove these barriers for both the individual jobseeker and unlock their potential for the employer’s benefit.”