From across Lisburn and Castlereagh 24 individuals graduated from the ‘Thrive’ employability programme.  

The Thrive initiative is part of our Labour Market Partnership programme and was delivered by Stepping Stones NI.  The programme provided participants with one-to-one mentoring support to create a personal development plan, they were then offered a range of accredited and non-accredited training to help develop skills and confidence.  This was followed by a work placement with a local employer which for some has led to permanent employment. 

Councillor John Laverty BEM, Regeneration and Growth Chairman presented each graduate with their certificate. He said: “Together we are trying to construct a more inclusive workplace for all, giving people with barriers equal opportunities. It is fantastic to see so many enthusiastic individuals as they navigate through their journey into employment.  

"I would like to express my thanks and appreciation to Stepping Stones NI.  Together, we have developed a diverse programme of support to ensure that everyone is provided with the opportunity to thrive, regardless of their circumstances and that inclusion is weaved into the values, methods, policies, and procedures of the workplace.”

Carla Frazer, Director of Employability and Partnerships at Stepping Stones NI said, ‘Our people are at the centre of everything we do, we continue to break down barriers to ensure inclusivity is at the core in workplaces. 

"The Thrive programme was a huge success, some of our graduates had been volunteering for many years and this programme gave them the opportunity to secure paid employment.  Graduates secured their first ever paid job, it was emotional and fantastic for parents and carers to join in the celebration. We are so proud of all our graduates and for the support of council as our graduates take the next step on their journey to employment."

If you would like more information about the Labour Market Partnership or other council programmes available, please email the Programmes Team at or phone 028 9244 7391.