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European Social Fund Projects (ESF)

Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council is co-funding three ESF projects which are detailed below.


Workforce III Project

This is a joint project submission by Stepping Stones in collaboration with the NOW project in North & West Belfast.  Stepping Stones have confirmed their project bid was successful. 

The Workforce III project will provide training opportunities, and lead to employment for adults with a learning disability and learning difficulties.  Key outputs during the three years of delivery include 250 participants from across the LCCC area, 124 new jobs, 30 participants into further education or training, and 2 new businesses set up.


The Exploring Enterprise 3 Programme (EEP3)

The Exploring Enterprise Programme (EEP) is run throughout Northern Ireland funded by the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) through the European Social Fund (ESF). The Programme is managed on behalf of DEL by Enterprise Northern Ireland (ENI) and delivered at local level by its member local enterprise agencies, which are Lisburn Enterprise Organisation and Inspire in the LCCC area. EEP is aimed at unemployed individuals, especially the long term jobless, who may be interested in the self-employment option; it offers a range of practical support activities that may result in participants either starting up their own businesses or enhancing their employability skills and prospects.

The programme has a particular focus on lone parents, older workers, young people not in education, employment or training (NEETs), women and also people with low or no qualifications. The longer term aim of the programme is to develop a latent pool of potential entrepreneurs within the most deprived communities and socially disadvantaged groups within the City.  Eight courses are proposed for the LCCC area over a three years period with the following key outputs:

  • 96 personal development plans completed
  • 56 individuals achieving QCF Level I in ‘Understanding Business Enterprise’
  • 6 individuals successfully obtaining employment
  • 8 individuals starting their own businesses


CO-MENT Collaborative Mentoring Programme- GEMS NI.

This programme will deliver an innovative package of active measures designed to identify, access, engage and support young people in the 16/24 year old age range. 

The programme will support young people from the priority groups of young people: living in areas of high social & economic deprivation; homeless, care/care leavers; involved with Youth Justice System; vulnerable to mental ill health/risk behaviours; substance misuse, low educational attainment, lone parents, disabilities/health conditions. Key project activity includes:

  •  Establishment of an Advisory Forum to support the project
  • Actively involving Young People & Employers in the planning, design & evaluation of CO-MENT.     
  • implementing a coherent knowledge-sharing, signposting and referral framework which Identifies, accesses and engages those young people in the priority NEET group;
  • Implementing a consistent model one to one mentoring support which will be a key element of the  support package  in place for each young person
  • Implementing a comprehensive assessment of each young person’s needs which enables their active involvement in the process;
  •  Developing  & implementing a customised ‘SMART’ action plan with  each young person establishing their individual TIMEBANK  across 4 zones: LEARNING, LIFE LEISURE AND WORK
  • Where appropriate establishing a 3 month learning placement(s) with an employer or a volunteering placement with a charity/NGO for each young person;
  • Developing an ‘onward’ action plan for each young on programme completion including  arrangements for ongoing support/mentoring linked to their ‘destination’ i.e. further education, training, work;
  • CO-MENT will engage with a total of 549 NEET Young People (Belfast, Lisburn & Castlereagh, Ards & North Down) aged 16 to 24 during the period 01 April 2015 – 31 March 2018. 

LCCC match funding will result in 90 of these participants coming from the LCCC area with the following outputs and results achieved:

  • 23 (25.5%) to complete QCF Level 1 qualification ; 7 in Year 1; 8 in Year 2; 8 in Year 3
  • 45 (50%) will gain work experience; 13 in Year 1; 16 in Year 2; 16 in Year 3
  • 23 (25.5%) into employment; 7 in Year 1; 8 in Year 2 and 8 in Year 3
  • 18 (20%) into Further Education; 5 in Year 1; 6 in Year 2; 7 in Year 3
  • 27 (30%) into DEL mainstream employability programmes ; 8 in Year 1; 9 in Year 2; 10 in Year 3.

These ESF projects run to 31 March 2018.