Hugh & Grace Ann Downey of Sharp Design are currently work-placing a group of 15 unemployed highly qualified design, multi media & marketing graduates who for most of them have spent the last 1-2 years trying to enter the work place.
Said Grace Ann Downey: “The idea came about to approach ‘Begin Again’ after years of frustration on our behalf interviewing designers & web designers.
“At interview stage we can immediately identify if they are work ready & unfortunately we have been very unfortunate in getting quality and creative work ready designers.
“We identified that there was still a huge gap between graduating from university or college and entering the workplace.
“We designed a smart working module that we thought would bridge this gap and we approached ICBE Begin Again, a labour market activation programme funded through the Department of Education & Skills.
“Over the past six months the programme has registered over a thousand job-seekers and potential employers. A careful matching process has enabled over 300 work-placements to be established.
“Together with intensive and relevant training & mentoring, this has facilitated the return to employment of a large proportion of participants. Of 77% of people who have completed the training and directed work placement to date, 60% have so far been returned to work, commenced self-employment or commenced a career change course of study.”
A number of variations of the programme are taking place in the North West involving some 90 participants. But as we revealed on Tuesday, funding has been cut. Director John Buckley (pictured) said he was ‘gutted’.
This includes general groups as well as specialised cohorts (GAA Youth Coaches, Forestry Trainees and a Creative Design, Web, Multi Media & E-Marketing Group of Internships).
Hugh added: “The programme consists of 12 weeks work placement in a business environment. Their social welfare was not affected during these weeks. They attended positivity & self confidence building training days. They were coached on interview skills, portfolio presentation, communication & commercial sales training on being employed or being self employed.
“At the end of our particular programme they received accredited certification in leadership (Fetac Level 5) a European Accredited Certification in Leadership, a complete new CV with work experience and last but not least the confidence to get up & go!”