Steps to Work Programme at Ulster Hospital
Belfast, 8 April 2014 - Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry and Health, Social Services and Public Safety Minister Edwin Poots have highlighted the role of social clause contracts in moving people into employment.
The Ministers were speaking after meeting Antionette Hillen from Newry and Chelsea Waterworth from Dundonald who both gained employment as a direct result of a successful work experience placement with Graham BAM Healthcare Partnership on the Ulster Hospital generic ward construction project.
These placements are aimed at unemployed people who wish to gain valuable work experience and are delivered by the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) through its Steps to Work Programme and Youth Employment Scheme.
The Executives’s Programme for Government contains a key commitment to include social clauses in all public procurement contracts for supplies, services and construction.
Minister Farry said: ‘This is a further example of joined-up Government delivering real results for the people of Northern Ireland. I commend Graham - Bam Healthcare Partnership for their willingness to embrace my Department’s work placement schemes and commend them for their foresight in recognising the untapped potential that exists among the unemployed.’
Health Minister Edwin Poots said: ‘I am impressed by the significant numbers of opportunities created on this project by Graham BAM and its supply chain, and commend Graham BAM for their commitment to implementing this Programme for Government initiative.’
Roisin Coulter, Director of Planning, Performance & Informatics at the South Eastern Trust, said: ‘Graham BAM Healthcare Partnership (GBHP) was appointed in May 2013 as the main contractor for the construction of the new Inpatient Ward Block, Ulster Hospital. The South Eastern Trust commend the progress made by GBHP to deliver employment and training opportunities for apprentices and the long-term unemployed.’
DEL is currently assisting the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety to maximise work experience placement opportunities for the unemployed within the construction industry through their contracts.
Antoinette Hillen had been unemployed for six months and Chelsea Waterworth unemployed for five months prior to obtaining employment.
Bridget McGuigan from Graham BAM said: ‘This is a very positive outcome and clearly demonstrates that the Youth Employment Scheme and Steps to Work initiatives are a continuing success for local employers.’