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Alexandra inks up success through YES

Pictured are Antrim YES participant Alexandra McDonnell, Joe Mullan, owner of Joker Tattoo Studio in central Belfast and John McCrea from the Department for Employment and Learning's Employment Service.

Pictured are Antrim YES participant Alexandra McDonnell, Joe Mullan, owner of Joker Tattoo Studio in central Belfast and John McCrea from the Department for Employment and Learning's Employment Service.

A young Antrim woman has said the Department for Employment and Learning’s (DEL) Youth Employment Scheme (YES) has provided her with the all important experience needed to find a job with Joker Tattoo in Belfast.

YES is designed to give young people between the ages of 18 and 24 help and support in looking for permanent work by offering work experience opportunities. The scheme is entirely voluntary and will help develop the skills you need to get a job.

Alexandra McDonnell was previously unemployed and her lack of experience meant she was finding it difficult to find her preferred type of work in her local area. She signed up to YES to gain the experience that employers value so highly. She then identified a suitable YES vacancy with Joker Tattoo in central Belfast on www.jobcentreonline.com applied, undertook an initial period of work experience and has now moved into full time employment with her employer benefiting from the Enhanced Employer Subsidy strand of YES.

On this strand of the Scheme, employers offering permanent full-time jobs to young people may be able to avail of an enhanced employer subsidy of up to £5,750 a year, provided they allow the young person to continue with their skills development.

Alexandra said: “The work experience has proved invaluable to me - I have gained many new skills and experience. I am more confident going forward. I have found a real job with my new skills and experience and I would encourage other young people to get involved in these types of initiatives. It’s a perfect fit for me because I’ve always loved art, and tattoo art in particular.”

Joe Mullan, owner of Joker Tattoo Studio, said: “Alexandra has benefited from a wide range of training on her work placement at Joker Tattoo including learning the overall importance of hygiene in tattooing and translating a customer’s initial ideas into artwork they can really be proud of. She has integrated into the team here and indeed has excelled in customer service and interaction which is what we pride ourselves on here in Joker Tattoo.”

John McCrea, from the Department for Employment and Learning’s Employment Service, Belfast, said: “With more young people finding themselves in a catch 22 situation where they can’t land a job because they don’t have experience, we need to find more creative ways to help our young people into work.

“A young person claiming Jobseekers Allowance can go on a YES work experience placement without their benefits being affected, getting the chance to try out a range of tasks in a real work situation. It’s also very satisfying for us in the Employment Service when we are able to achieve a seamless fit between employer and jobseeker, as has been the case with Joker Tattoo and Alexandra.”

If you are a young unemployed person and would like to avail of work experience opportunities please contact your local JobCentre/Jobs and Benefits office, call 0300 200 7876 or visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/skills

The Department for Employment and Learning recently launched a new ‘Skills to Succeed’ advertising campaign aimed at highlighting the importance of skills and qualifications for individuals, employers and the economy. The ‘Skills to Succeed’ campaign will highlight a number of strands including YES and encourages individuals and employers seeking to develop their own skills and those of their workforce to find out what programmes and assistance is available by visiting http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/skills or by calling 0300 200 7876.

 

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