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Celebration for Leisure Employment Academy graduates

9 Mar 2020

A graduation ceremony has taken place at Brook Leisure Centre to celebrate the achievements of individuals who have completed the Leisure Belfast Employment Academy and successfully gained employment.

The academy has been designed in partnership with GLL, who operate the 14 leisure centres across Belfast to provide skills and qualifications to those who are currently out of work.

The academy and resulting job opportunities were created as part of the £105 million Leisure Transformation Programme to improve leisure facilities and services across the city.

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Daniel Baker welcomed graduating participants to the event and said:

"It is an honour to be here this afternoon to celebrate and recognise the achievements of the graduates who have successfully completed the Leisure Belfast Employment Academy.

Employability and skills is one of the most important priorities for Council and when developing the ‘Belfast Agenda’ –local people clearly communicated that employment and access to jobs was paramount.

To date, 40 people have been interviewed following this specific academy and of these, 34 are currently working with GLL, with an additional 12 people due to complete their qualification later this week. This clearly signifies that people living in our city have been given the training and support needed to move directly into employment.

I would like to congratulate you all again for all your achievements so far and wish you many happy years in employment!”

Gareth Kirk, Regional Director of GLL also commented and said:

“A healthy local community needs jobs for its people. Which is why we’re so proud to have employed over 40 local graduates in the last few months.

The roles vary from lifeguards and fitness instructors to swimming teachers and customer service staff. All our new recruits have the opportunity to develop further and find rewarding careers with GLL. With the opening of the new Andersonstown Leisure Centre only a few months away, there couldn’t be a more exciting time to work with us here in Belfast and we look forward to many more graduates joining our team.”

The Leisure Employment Academy is open to anyone living in the Belfast City Council area currently out of work or working less than 16 hours a week. To find out more information please visit

Lord Mayor, Councillor Daniel Baker pictured with Samuel McCartney and Nicola McCartan, Leisure Employment Academy participants and Gareth Kirk, GLL Regional Director.