The theme of building bridges between the world of work and the world of the unemployed was set by Padraic White, in his keynote speech to the 80 delegates at the Worklink Employers Forum. Through sharing his experiences gained as chair of the Northside Local Area Partnership and chair of the Employment Services Board of West Belfast & Greater Shankill, he exemplified how this linkage can be created and how engagement by employers in reaching out to assist in the employability of unemployed jobseekers, can help jobseekers cross the bridge to the world of employment. He concluded that “in my experience this is best executed through a coherent and organized structure where employers can come together, share ideas and develop employability initiatives”.
Ronan Dennedy, CEO Louth County Enterprise Board (joint sponsors); Paddy Malone, President, Dundalk Chamber of Commerce; Kevin Empey, Worklink founder and Michael McCabe, Louth Local Authorities Business Support Unit (joint sponsors)
Following a welcome address by Paddy Malone, President of Dundalk Chamber of Commerce, Kevin Empey, founder of Worklink, a new volunteer led employment support network, outlined their role in assisting jobseekers to successfully transition to full employment. Worklink provides free services to both the unemployed and employers and he asked employers to consider that by giving a jobseeker an opportunity they could also benefit their business.
Ronan Dennedy , CEO of Louth County Enterprise Board spoke of their role in job creation which ranges from the promotion of entrepreneurship in education, funding business start- ups, supporting business development through training and business development programs and fostering clusters and networks both on a local and cross border basis.
Joe McGuinness, DSP North East Divisional Manager outlined the significant changes taking place within the DSP. New Intreo Centres are focused on both employers and the unemployed. He urged employers to consider using Intreo’s recruitment and employment services and to avail of DSP grants and assistance schemes.
Derek Sheelan, Ovelle Pharmaceuticals shared their experiences of the JobBridge Internship scheme with which they have had an excellent record of converting internships to permanent jobs. He advised those present to avail of the scheme and to use Worklink’s support services to achieve this.
Lively discussion followed with many questions asked and experiences shared. The forum was chaired by Deirdre Ryan, Worklink and was sponsored by Louth County Enterprise Board and Louth Local Authorities Business Support Unit.