EPIC Programme celebrates 10 years of helping marginalised immigrants including refugees find jobs in Ireland

The EPIC programme (Employment for People from Immigrant Communities) is a ground-breaking initiative which leverages the support of business to help marginalised immigrants find employment. Run by Business in the Community Ireland, the national network for sustainability, it celebrated its 10 years of success at a special event last night hosted by Bank of Ireland in Dublin and announced that it has supported 3,235 people from 100 nationalities with two thirds going on into employment or further training and education.

The EPIC programme has supported people from 105 countries including Nigeria, Brazil, Syria, Romania and has worked with refugees and asylum seekers including those in Direct Provision. Funded by the Department of Justice & Equality and the European Social Fund, the programme, based in Business in the Community Ireland’s offices in Phibsborough, Dublin, comprises 6 weeks training as well as multiple supports from business.

Specific pre-employment and employability skills are taught, but a large focus is on motivation and encouragement, as the experience of migration and unemployment, particularly if coming through the asylum process, leaves many lacking in the confidence and self-belief necessary to find work. The unique aspect of the programme is the support of business in delivering training, work experience, site visits and more.

 Of the 3,253 people engaged with the programme, 43% have gone on into employment with an additional 24% going into training, internships or volunteer roles. The EPIC programme has also won plaudits at EU level where it has been showcased as a model of excellence for integration.

Tomás Sercovich, CEO of Business in the Community Ireland said, “The EPIC programme concretely demonstrates how interconnected business and society really is. Our clients have gone on to find employment in hundreds of companies and business benefits by tapping into a pipeline of hidden talent. If our economy is to continue growing and we are to remain competitive, we must ensure that we create meaningful job opportunities for all. The EPIC programme represents diversity and inclusion at its very best.”

The EPIC programme has a number of key business partners and at the anniversary event it recognised the support of companies who have been with the programme for a decade. These include CPL which to date has facilitated an incredible 1350 mock interviews for people on the EPIC programme. BT provides IT training and has trained 1530 people since the programme began.

Other companies such as KPMG have provided mentoring support and Accenture, Enterprise-Rent-a-Car and Bank of Ireland provide workshops, skills training and hosting graduation events. EPIC is also supported by other NGOs including the Immigrant Council of Ireland and Cairde who provide workshops and referrals.

Minister of State for Justice with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, Mr David Stanton T.D., attended today’s celebratory event and commented:

“I want to congratulate Business in the Community Ireland and all the people supported by the EPIC programme through the years.  I am delighted that the European Union  and the government have been able to support this project.   We all have a role to play in the process of integration, so it is encouraging to see so many businesses taking leadership on this issue through the EPIC programme. Finding employment and developing social circles are a significant part of integrating into society and programmes like EPIC benefit both Irish society and the individual.”

Funding for EPIC is primarily from the European Social Fund and the Irish Government, with additional funding from businesses.

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For more information, contact Moira Horgan on 01 874 3812 or mhorgan@bitc.ie

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