Citywide Employers’ Forum celebrates success with 1,908 people helped into jobs

Business in the Community hosted a special celebration event at Belfast Waterfront Hall on Wednesday 10 October to showcase the achievements of the Citywide Employers’ Forum as the programme draws to a natural close after 15 years.

The Citywide Employers’ Forum was an employability initiative delivered by Business in the Community. The Forum began as the West Belfast & Greater Shankill Employers’ Forum, and because of its success, expanded to serve the Greater Belfast area. It brought together local employers to support jobseekers and the long-term unemployed to build the skills and confidence needed to secure meaningful employment.

Deirdre Timoney, director of the Citywide Employers’ Forum, explains:
“The Citywide Employers’ Forum was established to help people in some of the most deprived areas of Greater Belfast find work and change their lives for the better. Initially established in 2003, the Forum has helped over 1,908 people who had been long-term unemployed, get back into sustainable employment. This is an incredible achievement, saving the public purse an estimated £13 million – and on a more personal level, has helped many people change their lives for the better.

“None of this would have been possible without the support and funding from Bombardier over the past 15 years and I’d like to extend my heartfelt thanks for this.”

Michael Ryan, President, Bombardier Aerostructures and Engineering Services, and Chair of the Citywide Employers’ Forum said:
“I’m very proud of the impact that the Citywide Employers’ Forum has had, not only on the people moved into employment, but also on their families and the wider community. As a major employer in the Belfast area, it was an initiative that Bombardier whole-heartedly supported.

“The programme has been very successful over the past 15 years, working alongside community employability bodies to engage those furthest removed from the labour market in business-led initiatives that gave them the skills and confidence they needed to get back into the world of employment.”

Business in the Community has set up a Task and Finish group to review its education and employability work. The group, which is made up of senior representatives from a wide range of business sectors, will help to develop new education and employability initiatives to meet the changing marketplace.

For more information, contact Deirdre Timoney on 028 9046 0606 or email