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Minister Burton presents certificates to graduates of the Positive2Work programme

The Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, T.D., today (Thursday 10th April 2014) presented certificates to 18 graduates of the Positive2Work programme in Retail Skills.  The programme, which is now in its second year, is a collaboration between the Department of Social Protection, Tesco Ireland, Positive2Work Skillnets and the Education and Training Boards, all of whom have been involved in delivering the programme.

This programme in Cabra is one of seven which are taking place throughout the country, offering opportunities for young jobseekers to gain experience, skills and a recognised qualification in retail skills and distribution skills.  The participants undertook four modules including work placements in Tesco stores which leads to a FETAC level 4 minor award for each of the modules covered.

Congratulating the graduates, Minister Burton she was confident that “The combination of work placement and classroom activities and the skills each participant has learnt will show employers that you are ready for a job in a busy retail environment.  That you are motivated and committed to taking on new challenges and would be an asset to any employer.”  She encouraged them to consider this programme as a stepping stone on their path into further education, training and job opportunities.  The support that these graduates have received over the last six weeks will continue through the Department’s local Intreo Centres where the case officers will work closely with them individually to help them achieve their goals.

The Department of Social Protection has a dedicated division established to engage with employers and help them find recruits from the Live Register.  The partnership between Government, industry and training is another approach being utilised in enabling jobseekers get back to work, with the Tesco Positive2Work Programme proving to be an excellent example of such a partnership.

Minister Burton spoke on the Government’s commitment to reducing youth unemployment.  “As a country, we have a duty to be more ambitious for our young people and we have a duty to provide opportunities, whether that’s work experience, training or education, so that each young person can develop the potential for growth that exists in all.  The Government’s Youth Guarantee can be summed up in a single word, opportunities.  It’s about making sure we give our young people the opportunities they need to achieve their full potential.  Positive2Work is all about achieving your potential.  Each young jobseeker we engage with will receive a guarantee of access to career guidance, leading to identification of an individual career plan with follow-through to training, education, work experience or full-time work.” 

A Youth Guarantee Pilot Project is underway in Ballymun and the Government recently published the implementation plan for the phased rollout of the Guarantee nationwide.

Christine Heffernan, Director of Corporate Affairs, Tesco Ireland said: “We are delighted to congratulate the participants of the Tesco-Positive2Work Programme on their achievement today.  This Programme offers opportunities for young unemployed people to gain on-the-job experience as well as certified retail skills. We hope that this will give the young people who have completed the course a real advantage in their search for employment.  We know youth unemployment is a major challenge for us all, and this Programme allows us to make a positive difference by using our resources, facilities and capabilities to help young people become work-ready. We are very grateful of the support of the Department of Social Protection, Skillnets, the Education and Training Boards and Coláiste Dhulaigh in helping make this programme such a success, and we wish the participants all the very best with their future careers."

Alan Nuzum, CEO, Skillnets stated: “Following on from the 2 very successful Pilot Initiatives of the Positive2Work Advantage Programme in 2013, Positive2Work Skillnets are again delighted to be involved in funding the role out of this course on a national basis.  We are very encouraged by the progress of the first group in Cabra this year and the feedback from trainees is excellent.”

The Minister thanked all the organisations involved for their commitment and support to the participants to help them achieve a successful outcome and expressed her support for the participants who are currently taking part in Positive2Work programmes in Waterford, Cork, Limerick, and Donabate and wished all parties well with the programmes planned for Ballymun and Tallaght.