Providing job opportunities for unemployed in Belfast and Lisburn
16 May 2012
Over 70 people from Belfast and Lisburn have completed the latest round of the HARTE programme which provides job training opportunities in the hospitality and retail sector for the long-term unemployed.
The Hospitality and Retail Training for Employment (HARTE) initiative is jointly funded by Belfast City Council, Lisburn City Council and the European Social Fund and is supported by the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL).
HARTE was launched in Belfast in January 2009 and the previous round of the programme enabled 90 people to gain employment in the hospitality and retail sector. Over 190 participants on the programme have also gained recognised qualifications and completed personal development courses.
The new round of the programme which got underway in November was open to unemployed people in both Belfast and Lisburn City Council areas. Five training programmes were delivered – three of which were in conjunction with employers such as Fitzers (catering contractors for Titanic Belfast); JRS (contractors for the MAC in Belfast) and the Premier Inn hotel in Lisburn. The programme was delivered for both councils by Time Associates, GEMS NI and Belfast Met.
At a special celebration event at the City Hall, the 75 participants who completed the latest round of HARTE were awarded with certificates, presented by Councillor Guy Spence from Belfast City Council’s Development Committee.
Among the speakers at the ceremony were representatives from Belfast and Lisburn City Councils and from the hospitality and retail sector like Gerry Faloona, general manager of Lakeview Restaurant in Temple Golf Club. Gerry gave a talk on his career to date and spoke of the challenges and rewards that came with working in the hospitality industry.
Alderman Christopher Stalford, Chairman of Belfast City Council`s Development Committee, said: “The HARTE programme is an excellent initiative for offering professional support and skills training to those seeking employment in the hospitality and retail industries. It is also unique in that it provides job opportunities to those who have been unemployed for a significant period of time.
“I am delighted to learn that some of the participants have already found employment at Titanic Belfast and the MAC. The competition for employment positions in these facilities was particularly immense.”
Rebecca Simmons from east Belfast was one of the participants on the programme and has secured a job in the customer services team for Titanic Belfast.
“I found the HARTE programme very enjoyable,” she said. “The tutors were extremely helpful and the skills and qualifications I gained will be useful across a variety of jobs. I can carry them anywhere.”
Another participant, Nuno Costa, also obtained employment at the MAC after completing the programme.
“The HARTE programme offered me the chance to gain qualifications to enhance my CV,” he said. “By gaining these and with the support of the HARTE team I had the confidence to apply for jobs.”
Cathy Jones, HR manager of Fitzers Catering, catering contractors for Titanic Belfast, said: “Fitzers Catering Ltd were delighted with the assistance of the HARTE programme. The programme provided trainees with good training and insight into working in the hospitality industry.”
To find out more about HARTE or the council`s other business programmes, contact 028 9050 0504 or visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/businessprogrammes
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