A NEW employment scheme to give out of work young people practical job experience has been launched by the Department for Employment and Learning.
The Youth Employment Scheme (YES) offers short and long-term work experience to people unemployed between the ages of 18 and 24.
Employment Service office manager for Newtownabbey, Anne Marie Fletcher said the scheme could bring great rewards including enhanced skills and job satisfaction.
She said: “A young person claiming Job Seekers allowance can go on a short two to eight week work experience placement without their benefits being affected and participation in the scheme is voluntary.
“During the work experience you’ll be given the chance to try out a range of tasks in a real work situation. The emphasis is on providing you with an opportunity to sample the world of work, develop your employability skills and give you work-related experience that you can use at future job interviews to demonstrate these skills.
“These skills may include working in a team, using your initiative, problem solving, planning and organising, communication and interpersonal skills and computer skills.”
She went on: “While work experience may not be long enough to train you how to do a specific job it will provide the basis for an employer to see what employability skills you have. Employers highly value these skills as they are used in a range of workplace settings.”
Those taking part may get paid for their expenses such as travel and childcare costs.
Anne Marie continued: “Even though you are not being paid a wage you must remember that participating in the scheme can lead to a paid job.
“If you’re enthusiastic, work hard and people in the organisation get to know you, you will be in with a better chance when job opportunities arise.
“You don’t need any particular skills or experience - you just need to be genuinely enthusiastic, and willing to work hard and learn.
“The companies will provide you with training when you start, so you won’t be thrown in at the deep end.
“If you’re unsure what you’ve got to offer, think about the skills you’ve developed in your personal life, such as organising social events or sports you are involved in. “There is likely to be a work experience opportunity where you can use these skills.”
A skills development programme is also available which offers a work placement in industries such as retailing, hospitality, financial services and digital media for between six and nine months.
Participants are expected to take part in around 150 hours of training relevant and will receive a training allowance equivalent to benefit entitlement plus a top up of £45 a week.
For more information on the work experience opportunities on offer go to www.jobcentreonline.com or call 0300 200 7822.