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Belfast Labour Market Partnership strategic overview

Published in January 2023

This document is a summary of Belfast Labour Market Partnership's action plan for 2022 to 2023. The plan gives an overview of activities, projects and actions we will carry out to support people who aren't in the labour market; as well as what we can do to help them find employment and help employer recruit Belfast residents to fill vacant jobs.

In April 2023, we will publish a new action plan for 2023 to 2024. This is subject to approval from the regional Labour Market Partnership.

The action plan has four strategic intents:

  • Quickly back to work: mitigating the economic impact of COVID-19 on the labour market
  • Increasing opportunities: empowering people who are furthest from the labour market to succeed and progress in employment
  • No-one left behind: targeted supports for disadvantaged groups through the delivery of an integrated, comprehensive, inclusive, holistic and local employability approach
  • Catching-up: supporting access to careers pathways, re-skilling and upskilling for people who are out of work and those on low incomes

Quickly back to work

Targets for 'Quickly back to work' strategic intent Actions Milestones
By 2026, we will reduce the working-age economic inactivity rate within Belfast to 18.0 per cent Establish a Labour Market Observatory which provides the intelligence (supply, demand, provision and policy) that underpins employability and skills interventions in Belfast Labour Market Observatory will provide a range of information products from data collection, research, analysis and systemisation, including:
  • databases
  • dashboard of main indicators by region or sector
  • low-level spatial analysis
  • trends analysis
  • mapping and catalogues of occupations and qualifications by sector
  • barometers of occupations
  • analytical reports on labour market forecasting
  • guidance, information and mapping of provision
  • studies of external performance of training policies.

Increasing opportunities

Target for 'Increasing opportunities, strategic intent Actions Milestones
By 2026, we will decrease the proportion of residents who are unemployed, yet actively seeking employment, to 1.5 per cent.  Ensure a co-ordinated response to jobs and skills challenges through the Belfast Labour Market Partnership that will help improve employability outcomes and connect employers with employees Establish a Labour Market Partnership in Belfast.
Deliver a wide range of employment academies and pathways to connect residents with new or better employment opportunities Belfast residents, especially those people furthest from the labour market (including long term unemployed, economically inactive) getting into employment.
Supporting employers by providing flexible and seamless responses to employer requirements to recruit and train staff and supporting the aims of inclusive growth Employer Navigation Service operational for employers across the city, creating inclusive supply pipelines and providing skills matches and access to a workforce that can underpin meaningful and inclusive economic growth.

No-one left behind

Target for 'No-one left behind' strategic intent Actions Milestones
By 2026, we will increase the working-age population who have attained Level 4 or above qualifications to 56.0 per cent. Creating an integrated framework of provision in Belfast, ensuring support for residents through a Gateway to Choice service to navigate the range of provision and make informed choices that best suits their needs Gateway to Choice will be a specialist triage support resource which will support individuals through referrals to appropriate provision, job matching or brokerage and utilise all existing funding mechanisms and interventions, including health, with the goal of getting more of those people furthest back in the labour market to engage in the provision that will support their employability and skills journey. Gateway will work closely with the Careers Service, Jobs and Benefits work coaches, relevant health services and local VCSE organisations for quality, up to date, impartial and independent advice tailored to individual needs and career aspirations.
Ensure inclusive non-traditional pathways to jobs within growth sectors such as green, digital and tech sectors Innovative pathways created especially for non-traditional entrants to areas such as tech and digital sectors.
Target supports for disadvantaged groups and places to ensure inclusivity within the labour market
  • Scoping and benchmarking interventions for place-based approaches for most disadvantaged wards or district electoral areas (DEAs) in Belfast.
  • In partnership with the Department for Communities, Job and Benefits Offices and other key stakeholders such as the Department of Health and community providers to develop a programme which targets the most disadvantaged wards of Belfast with bespoke place-based interventions.


Target for 'Catching-up' strategic intent Actions Milestones
By 2026, we will reduce the proportion of working-age population with no qualifications to 12 per cent. Embed employer-recognised digital badging and skills passports for residents Establish the Belfast Skills Offer targeted at claimants with qualifications below Level 3 to capture and track recognised skills, upskilling and reskilling. This will support employers to identify candidates for jobs roles and identify address skills shortages. This model can help to capture and articulate the skill escalators and pathways that will help to address the ‘missing middle’ in the labour market.
Establish the Retrofit skills infrastructure required to ensure this new growth sector has fit-for-purpose skill matches within the city
Improving 'transitions' and preventing young people leaving education or training with no positive destination Scope, design and implement a bridging intervention to positive job, training or education outcomes.
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