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46 Young Dubliners Graduate from Tesco-Positive2Work Skillnet Programme

The Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D., praised the determination and commitment of 46 young unemployed people from Tallaght, Clondalkin, Ballymun, Swords, Donabate, Lusk and Rush who today (8th July 2014) graduated in the latest phase of the Tesco-Positive2Work Skillnet programme. Keelings took part for the first time in this phase of the project.

In a ceremony in the Davenport Hotel in Dublin the young graduates received certificates after taking part in 6 week FETAC certified retail and distribution skills training programmes which helped them build skills and gain work experience in placements hosted by Tesco in Tallaght and Donabate, and Keelings in Ballymun. This brings the number of graduates from the latest phase of the Tesco-Positive2Work Skillnet programme to 180.

Earlier today, the Tánaiste said the programme continued to help young unemployed people build skills and knowledge that would enhance their ability to take up new job opportunities. “I want to extend my congratulations to the participants who are graduating later today and who have shown admirable commitment and determination over the course of their training. The combination of work placement and classroom activities are hugely beneficial. While we continue to see improved national figures relating to unemployment, significant challenges are still faced by our young people seeking work so I once again commend the ongoing work undertaken by Tesco, Skillnets and Keelings with my Department in this regard.”

The programme, which is now in its second year, is a collaboration between the Department of Social Protection, Tesco Ireland, Positive2Work Skillnet, Keelings and the Department of Education and Skills and Training Boards, all of whom have been involved in delivering the programme. Certificates were presented to the graduates from the Tallaght, Ballymun and Donabate locations, with the overall programme now numbering nearly 180 participants in total throughout the country.

Ciaran Foley, Retail Support Director, Tesco Ireland, said that the on-the-job experience of the programme helped build real industry skills and experience for those involved. “I applaud the participants of the Tesco-Positive2Work Skillnet Programme on their achievement today as well as all the graduates from the different locations around Ireland in this phase of the programme. We know youth unemployment is a major challenge, and this programme allows us at Tesco to make a positive difference by using our resources, facilities and capabilities to help young people become work-ready. We hope that this will give the young people who have completed the course a real advantage in their search for employment. We are very grateful for the ongoing support of the Department of Social Protection, Skillnets, Keelings and the Education and Training Boards in helping make this programme such a success and we wish the participants the very best in their attempts to forge new career possibilities."

Barry Moore, Operations Director, Keelings, said: “We observed a pilot programme that Tesco ran and believed it would be an excellent opportunity for us to give something back to the community. There's a huge drive on with the Youth Guarantee scheme and having met them all I would love to see some of them become employable, they are 3/4th generation unemployed in their households and it would be fantastic to help break the cycle. We’ve been highly impressed with the level of professional and enthusiasm these people have shown. It is our intention to engage the successful ones in our agency pool at the end of the programme.”

Carl Blake, Senior Programme Manager, Skillnets, added: “The Tesco Positive2Work Skillnet Programme is one of the flagships of our very successful Skillnets Jobseekers Support Programme (JSSP). Funded under the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills, the JSSP creates real value for young unemployed people by giving them both relevant skills and a work placement. Feedback from trainees is extremely positive, with almost half of last year's JSSP trainees saying they have gained employment since the training. This initiative builds on a wide range of innovative supports that Skillnets, through our 60 Training Networks around the country, is providing for the unemployed by working closely with employers and other stakeholders.”