It pays to have attitude

An employment programme for people facing barriers to work has found that the right attitude is on a par with skills, when it comes to getting the right person for the job.

Business in the Community has forged a relationship between the Henderson Group and the Belfast Works LEMIS+ Project, an employment programme for people who are having trouble finding work.

Deirdre Timoney, Director of the BITC Citywide Employers Forum, said:

“For many years we have worked with companies to tackle unemployment. It has been great to partner with Belfast Works, who recruit, mentor and train the unemployed participants, with clients then moving onto company-led employability interventions, enabling them to upskill and build self-confidence, with a view to moving into the world of work. ”

Belfast Works provides participants with the training and support they need to start a two-week placement with the Henderson Group, and participants who successfully complete their placement, then have an opportunity to gain full-time, permanent employment.

John Gourley from Rathcoole had been struggling to find employment. After signing up for the Belfast Works LEMIS+ Project and taking part in the Henderson Group placement, he’s now working full-time for the company.

John said: “I left school when I was 15 because I knew that I wanted to do hands on work. I started working in small warehouses and I really enjoyed it. Then as time went by, I started to find that all the jobs advertised wanted people with licenses to operate the forklifts etc, so even though I was able to do it all, I wasn’t eligible.”

John found employment for a while as a cleaner, but then spent a year looking for warehousing work with no success. John continued: “My friend recommended the LEMIS+ Project at the Ashton Centre, Belfast – he said that they help you with qualifications. I registered and my mentor, Claire, signed me up for the courses I’d needed.”

The Belfast Works LEMIS+ Project’s Warehouse Employability Academy offers accredited forklift training, manual handling and health and safety qualifications followed by the opportunity to take part in a work placement at the Henderson Group facilitated by Business in the Community.

John said:

“I loved the training and it helped me to get the qualifications I needed. All the employers want the licenses now – the LEMIS+ Project helps to open the door for you.”

John’s manager, Geordie Irwin, said: “I knew from the moment John started he would be a good worker. He hit the ground running and everything was ‘yes, no problem’.

“The two-week training placement we offer for LEMIS+ clients is very worthwhile for us. We give 100 per cent training and all we ask for is willingness. If someone wants to do it, they’ll be able to do it. It’s all about attitude, really.”

“I’ve been working here for 15 years. I started off as a picker, and worked my way up. I love it because every day is different. The job keeps you active and you’re never bored.”

The Henderson Group are planning to offer further two-week placements for unemployed Belfast Works LEMIS+ clients. The Belfast Works LEMIS+ Project is funded by the NI European Social Fund Programme and the Department for the Economy.