Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey has welcomed the funding allocation for JobStart, and reiterated her commitment to boosting economic opportunities for young people and those seeking to re-enter the labour market.

Minister Hargey was speaking after the Executive agreed to fund the employment scheme for 16-24 year olds. The scheme is designed to support young people facing additional employment challenges due to the impact of Covid-19.

Minister Hargey said, “This is a bespoke employer incentive scheme and has been developed to suit the nature and size of local businesses, including those in the voluntary and community sector.

“The programme aligns with my ongoing commitment to supporting young people at risk of long-term unemployment by creating job opportunities in a range of disciplines and sectors.

“As we move towards recovery from the economic and societal effects of Covid-19, I will continue to prioritise the employment needs of young people in our community.” 

The Executive’s allocation of £26.9 million will also fund The Opportunity Guarantee Scheme for young people aged 18-24, and Work Ready Employability Services (WRES) for those actively seeking re-employment.

Minister Hargey continued: “I welcome the Executive’s decision today to allocate funding to the JobStart scheme.

“Having recognised the importance of providing support, this much-needed scheme – and the additional labour market interventions – are prepared for launch and I will announce further details in the coming days.”

The JobStart scheme is designed to create opportunities for 16-24 year olds by providing positions with employers for a period of six months, increasing to nine months for those who meet additional criteria.

The employer incentive scheme aims to develop employability skills for those at risk of long-term unemployment and to place young people in positions which align with their individual skills and interests. Participation on the scheme is voluntary.

The JobStart scheme is expected to launch within the next week along with the Opportunity Guarantee Scheme. Letters to successful bidders for the Work Ready Employability Services (WRES) contract will also be issued in the next week.


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