Newry Mourne and Down Council (NMD) has today launched the ‘Great Place to Work’ strand of the Labour Market Partnership (LMP). The initiative was launched in response to research from the Council’s Economic Development Department which found that there are more than 1,200 job vacancies across the district.
The LMP, funded by the Department for Communities, aims to promote NMD as a great place to work; to support people to access work; and to help provide the relevant skills for existing and future vacancies. NMD Business invited businesses across the Council area to complete a survey to help them to shape the strategy for the new Labour Market Partnership (LMP). The survey returned responses from more than 50 businesses currently employing more than 11,000 people locally.
The research not only identified the number of career opportunities in the locality, but it also highlighted some of the great work already taking place. Many businesses are working hard to attract and retain talent with incentives such as flexible working, four day working weeks, and investment in culture and employee wellbeing. 72% of businesses identified that they already had some level of engagement with Southern Regional College or South Eastern Regional College. Many of these businesses, local and global names, are recruiting apprentices through the regional colleges. 46% have engaged directly with local Universities to seek graduate talent for their organisations while 90% of the respondents are interested in engaging directly with the Labour Market Partnership to help promote the opportunities available locally.
Cllr Michael Savage, Chair of Newry, Mourne and Down Council said, “This piece of research backs up what we are hearing on the ground from businesses. We need more people active in the labour market in the district. This Great Place to Work’ initiative is aimed at helping to bridge that gap. We need to start at school level to make sure young people are aware of the opportunities locally. We have 88% of the respondent businesses saying they are interested in hiring graduates and 78% interested in Apprentices or Higher-Level Apprenticeships. This shows we have many highly skilled opportunities locally.
“NISRA data for 2021 shows that we have more than 3,500 unemployed people in the district and 28,000 economically inactive people, for various reasons. This includes scenarios such as caring or family commitments, and people with disabilities. There are figures to show that many of these people want to work if they were presented with the opportunity.
The Chairperson continued, “Our business community is telling us that nearly 65% of companies would be interested in providing career pathways and opportunities for people with caring responsibilities who require flexibility; nearly 70% can offer support for employees with English as a second language and nearly 60% would provide the skills and support to help someone who has been long term unemployed to get back into the labour market. This shows that there are opportunities and options for people who maybe feel removed from the labour market or reluctant to return.
“Our job seekers, (38%) are telling us that there is a lack of opportunities locally while 35% cited a lack of confidence to apply for a job and 24% said they did not know where to look. This tells us that
there is a disconnect somewhere between the labour market and job seekers. We hope that the Labour Market Partnership can work with the very many stakeholders involved in this space locally to try to bridge that gap. We want to provide information to jobseekers about the opportunities available- more than 1,200 of them in the district; and to support businesses to get the skilled and unskilled talent they need to fill current and future vacancies to help deliver growth.”
To date NMD Labour Market Partnership has supported a range of employability training academies including a HGV Drivers Academy, and a Health and Social Care Academy providing training for those looking to start a career in these sectors. Recently it supported the FC UR Future Careers event for 700 Year 9s from schools across the district and will be hosting a Job Fair on Thursday 30th June in the Canal Court Hotel, Newry from 10am until 3pm. It is free to attend and registration is not required.