Taking Positive Steps to get back into employment

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An event has been held in Ballymena aiming to help local people on Employment and Support Allowance get back into work.

The event was hosted by PeoplePlus NI and held in The Braid.

Working with the Department for Communities and other partner organisations, PeoplePlus NI manages the Steps 2 Success programme across the Northern region and provides tailored support and mentoring for those who want to rebuild confidence or improve their skills before applying for work.

Attendees heard that more than 13,000 people have been helped back to work through Steps 2 Success, representing around 650 people in the Ballymena area.

Positive Steps is part of the Steps 2 Success programme and is specifically aimed at ESA claimants. It is entirely voluntary for ESA claimants and does not affect their benefits.

The aim of the Positive Steps programme is to build confidence, motivation and skills, whilst reducing isolation, helping participants who are considering employment that is suitable and which works for them.

Tina McKenzie, Group Managing Director for Staffline, PeoplePlus NI’s parent company, said: “From our experience, we know that most people on health-related benefit want to work, particularly if it’s part-time, scheduled around caring needs, or with accommodations for their health.

“The difficulties they face however mean that is not as easy as filling in a job application.

“Many ESA customers could suffer from low self-esteem, feel isolated or feel unsure of how to go about getting back into work, especially if they’ve been economically inactive for some time.

“The Positive Steps programme run by PeoplePlus NI takes a look at each individual who comes through our doors and provides them with very tailored support that will address whatever specific needs they have to help them feel confident and ready to find work that suits their individual circumstances.”

Positive Steps is delivered by local support organisations across Newtownabbey, North Antrim, Causeway Coast, Derry/Londonderry and Strabane.

The programme is open to anyone who is on Employment and Support Allowance and participation does not affect their benefits.

More information can be found at www.peopleplusni.com or by asking for more details in local Jobs and Benefits Offices.