Hargey provides £10m additional funding for jobs and skills

Date published: 24 March 2022

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey is delighted to announce an additional £10million for the Covid Recovery Employment & Skills Initiative, bringing the total value of the funding up to £20million.

Hargey provides £10m additional funding for jobs and skills
Hargey provides £10m additional funding for jobs and skills

It means that at least 300 new jobs will be created across the heritage; sport; voluntary, community and social enterprise; arts and creative sectors through the Covid Recovery Employment & Skills Initiative.

Minister Hargey made the announcement today during a meeting with Professor Paul Moore, Director of Future Screens – one of the delivery partner organisations.

She explained:

“The level of demand has affirmed the positive way organisations have responded to this initiative. We are hearing how game-changing this could be for organisations, the sectors, and of course for the individuals themselves. I am pleased that my Department is able to provide additional support to these sectors where there is the potential to create a long lasting legacy.

“I initially made £10million available for this initiative in January.  There has been huge interest, with demand outstripping that initial budget. Therefore I am doubling the budget by making another £10million available in recognition that these sectors need and deserve our support to help them fully recover from the pandemic.

“All posts supported through this initiative will receive the Real Living Wage. I encourage all employers to pay at least the Real Living Wage.

“Letters of offer will be issuing to successful applicants in the coming days, providing new opportunities for people and organisations to go to the next level and recover from the pandemic.”

The Covid Recovery Programme Employment & Skills Initiative will provide grant funding for the next three years to support individuals and not-for-profit organisations with costs for new roles to help the sectors address the impact of the pandemic. 

The initiative was launched on 31 January 2022 and has now closed to applications. There has been significant interest from organisations across all sectors, with application numbers exceeding anticipated demand.  In light of this, Minister Hargey has increased the original budget to allow more new entrant employment opportunities to be supported.

Grant funding for this Initiative is being disbursed through four trusted delivery bodies, namely Future Screens NI (Arts sector), The Rank Foundation (Sports and Voluntary & Community sectors), the Heritage Fund (Heritage sector) and BBC NI in partnership with NI Screen (Creative Industries sector).

The Employment & Skills Initiative will fund the salaries and associated costs of new entry level employment opportunities and host organisations’ support costs in not-for-profit organisations for those of working age (18 years+). The scheme also aims to provide funding for training and upskilling of existing employees in key roles within the affected sectors, in an effort to incentivise staff to remain in and develop their career in these sectors and assist the sectors to fully recover from the impacts of the pandemic.  It is currently anticipated that new entrants will be in post by early July 2022.

Notes to editors: 

  • Photo caption: Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey is pictured with (L-R) Professor Paul Moore (University of Ulster), Director of Future Screens; Kai Wooder, Director of Programmes, Rank Foundation and Professor Michael Alcorn (Queen’s University Belfast), Co-Director Future Screens during a visit to Ormeau Baths Innovation Labs where Minister Hargey announced an additional £10million for the Covid Recovery Employment & Skills Initiative, bringing the total value of the funding up to £20million and providing for the creation of at least 300 jobs.
  • Information on the original announcement of the Employment & Skills Initiative is available here
  • Media enquiries to DfC Press Office 
  • The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.
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