Minister of State Stanton congratulates BITCI on being selected as emblematic project for 30th Anniversary of Cohesion Policy in Europe

The Minister of State for Equality, Immigration and Integration at the Department of Justice and Equality, Mr. David Stanton T.D., today congratulated Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) on their achievement in being chosen as an emblematic project as a recipient of funding from the European Social Fund, one of the Cohesion Policy funds. The European Union Cohesion Policy is celebrating its 30th Anniversary in 2018 and a number of projects from across the EU have been selected to highlight activities that benefit from the funds.

 BITCI’s Employment of People from Immigrant Communities (EPIC) is the only project from across the EU that has been selected as an exemplar of the use of European Funding to assist migrants in finding employment and education.  BITCI’s EPIC programme helps disadvantaged and vulnerable migrants to raise their skills and to find employment and training opportunities, including work placement and mentoring.  BITCI uses its extensive range of partner organisations and contacts to provide these opportunities to participants on its EPIC programme.

The Department of Justice and Equality provides funding to projects who assist and provide services to facilitate integration and employment of migrants.  The BITCI project is co-funded by the Department of Justice and Equality and the European Social Fund as part of the ESF Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020 and has been awarded €1.9m over a four year programme following an open call for proposals.

 Minister Stanton stated:

I am delighted to see BITCI’s project chosen as an emblematic project. The EPIC programme is a great example of how government, business and non-profit partnership can use EU Funding for the benefit of society. EPIC not only provides our new communities with the tools to seek and find employment but – what is equally important – it provides an introduction to the social and work environment in which migrants will operate into the future. The success of EPIC is in large part due to the work and dedication of all those involved and it is significant that it has been recognised as part of the 30 Years of Cohesion campaign from among many other projects across all EU countries.”

The Cohesion Policy is the EU’s main investment policy and it targets all regions and cities in the European Union in order to support job creation, business competitiveness, economic growth, sustainable development, and improve citizens’ quality of life.  The European Social Fund is one of the funds through which Cohesion Policy is delivered and is Europe’s main instrument for supporting jobs, helping people get better jobs and ensuring fairer job opportunities.  It works by investing in Europe’s human capital – its workers, its young people and all those seeking a job. The BITCI project is co-funded from the European Social Fund and from the national exchequer through the Department of Justice and Equality.  The Department has an allocated €3.3m to organisations over the period 2017-20 who will provide services around the integration and employment of migrants.

The Programme for Government 2011-2016 states that Ireland will promote policies which integrate minority ethnic groups, and which promote social inclusion, equality, diversity and the participation of immigrants in the economic, social, political and cultural life of their communities.

Under the Europe 2020 Strategy and the Partnership Agreement for Ireland 2014-2020, Ireland must raise the employment rate for women and men aged 20-64 to 69-71%, through the greater participation of young people, older workers and low-skilled workers and the better integration of legal migrants. The 2016 census highlights 11.6% of the population of Ireland are non-national; of these, 76% are EU nationals. The success of migrants in accessing employment is a key indicator of successful integration.

 The CEO of Business in the Community Ireland, Mr. Tomás Sercovich, stated:

We are delighted to partner strategically with the Department of Justice and Equality in this unique initiative at the European level so are especially excited to see that our EPIC programme was chosen as an example of best in class for Cohesion Policy. The sustained growth of Ireland’s economy relies on attracting and promoting talent from all over the world. It is a privilege for Business in the Community Ireland to connect leading businesses with outstanding talent. We must ensure that we favour a labour market that is open to all talents and that can help create a thriving economy and an inclusive society. This is a win-win-win for business, government and our great people”, Tomás Sercovich, CEO Business in the Community Ireland

This operation is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund as part of the Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning (PEIL) 2014-2020.

We want to take this opportunity to thank all the businesses that have supported EPIC over the years.

Note for Editors:

In 2018, EU cohesion policy will celebrate its 30th anniversary.  ‘Cohesion policy’ is the policy behind the hundreds of thousands of projects all over Europe that receive funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the European Social Fund (ESF) and the Cohesion Fund. It aims to improve the economic well-being of regions in the EU and also to avoid regional disparities. Cohesion policy has been accompanying the evolutions of the European Union: From the creation of the single market to the need to foster convergence to underpin the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), successive enlargements and most recently, the need to respond to the migration crisis. Also in the future, cohesion policy shall stay at the very core of the Union’s development.  It will enable the EU to harness globalisation, and to foster prosperous economies, caring societies and sustainable growth through innovation and skills.

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