An information officer has been appointed at Larne’s Ledcom facility to help unemployed people get back to work.
Laura McCourt, a former head girl at Larne High, will be encouraging a return to study through the learner access and engagement programme,
This programme offers training opportunities and support free of charge for essential skills courses in literacy, numeracy and ICT .
Other courses are available in IT user skills; creative craft; food safety; heathy food and special diets; sports leadership and counselling skills.
The courses will be delivered by Northern Regional College.
Laura says that her job is to make contact with community groups and with individuals who are out of work in Larne, Carrickfergus; Newtownabbey and Moyle.
“I will be reaching out to community groups to bring courses to their venues,” she explained.
This outreach includes providing an information stand at a range of locations including Asda and Murrayfield Shopping Centre in Larne and the DeCourcy Centre in Carrick.
She has also met with women’s groups in Ballyclare.
“I have also been working with some schools in Carrick to get programmes up-and- running for parents,” added Laura.
“I try to encourage the public to look at our leaflets and ask what courses they would like. We are trying to be flexible.
“We are trying to get people on board and trying to get people interested. The courses can be delivered anywhere. If you have a nice room, we can bring it to you.
“If people are unemployed and may not have a car, there is no travel expense involved.”
Later this month, two ICT courses, maths and counselling skills courses will get underway in Larne.
Another feature of Laura’s role is to provide mentoring for participants.
The 23-year-old politics graduate of Queen’s University Belfast, with an MA in legislative studies, says that her experience of studying may be of assistance to others.
“I have done a lot of studying myself so that is good from a mentoring point of view, so I will be able to offer some skills. I have also done community work for six years.
“I hope to get a lot of people new qualifications and help them gain employment.
“I enjoy working with people and getting out and about. I like meeting new people and helping people with their studies.”
Chairman of LEDCOM , Henry Fletcher, said: “The learner access and engagement programme is a vital initiative in East Antrim, primarily aimed to help unemployed people gain essential skills and qualifications relevant to the job market.I know Laura will be welcomed by community and voluntary groups and individuals as she seeks to make a difference in people’s lives “