Innovation in Employability Award 2021
Employee Wellbeing & Inclusion

Innovation in Employability Award

Throughout 2020/21 Translink has focused on increasing its outreach to attract candidates from groups who face specific barriers.


When launching its 2021 apprenticeship recruitment campaign, Translink focused on partnering with a wide range of strategic partners to help reach keys groups such as long-term unemployed and women, as it is committed to inclusivity and increasing the diversity of the workforce.

What Translink did

Translink works closely with local communities to raise awareness of opportunities through information sessions, have-a-go days for underrepresented groups (where individuals get to drive a bus), capacity building and empowerment of residents to ensure employment opportunities can be realised.

Translink employs innovative approaches to engage people locally and break down barriers to employment opportunities. An example is the delivery of social clauses through the Belfast Transport Hub (BTH), a publicly procured project managed by Translink. Local communities adjoining the site have high unemployment and low education attainment rates. During consultation, residents voiced concerns that local residents may be overlooked and that opportunities wouldn’t be fairly distributed. Significant barriers to employment were identified including confidence, technical and employability skills. Acknowledging this, Translink choose to partner with Belfast City Council to develop a ‘BTH- Construction Employment Academy’ (“CEA”) to deliver training and employability support to enable local communities to take up opportunities within the BTH.

The CEA focused on supporting and recruiting the long-term unemployed, school leavers and people working less than 16 hours a week. Additional beneficiaries included empowering local communities, facilitating community representatives to engage in the creation of academies, access information about the opportunities created and to overcome barriers to accessing employment opportunities.

This model was continually informed by local communities and replicated in other business areas with long term unemployed individuals training as Bus Drivers. Translink employees are engaged via internal digital platforms, namely Ulink (Intranet) and our employee app where all activity is communicated to promote the diverse and inclusive nature of Translink objectives towards local communities.

Impacts and Outcomes

  • Ensured the Transport Hub had a pipeline of enthusiastic and motivated candidates waiting to avail of construction opportunities
  • 24% of females were promoted in the last year – 10% more than the female representation in Translink
  • Have a go day increased applicants from females by 6%
  • Staff are happy to get involved in initiatives as they understand the value attached to them. This motivates staff and can contribute to the development of their skills.
  • Translink has received brand and reputational benefits from its work with local communities
  • 431 participants attended from across Belfast and 101 individuals signed up to BTH CEA, with 16 selected
  • Unsuccessful candidates redirected to other Belfast City Council Sectoral Employment Academies

For more information, please contact

The Judges said

Translink has demonstrated that it is really trying to make a difference to reduce barriers to employment for all.

The entry was heavily supported by senior leadership and a showed a strong commitment to investing in recruiting and developing their people and being an inclusive employer.

Translink has demonstrated a really collaborative approach to stakeholder engagement, a focussed approach to measurement and a strong understanding of both the business and societal benefits, which really impressed the judges.