Unemployed people in rural areas must have access to support structures to help them re-enter education or employment.
That was the key message from Rural Development Minister Michelle O’Neill as she announced that her Department will be providing £270,000 in support of the SUSE+ Programme (Step-Up to Sustainable Employment).
Speaking at a launch event in Cookstown, Co Tyrone Minister O’Neill pledged her commitment to tackling the barriers faced by unemployed people in rural areas.
She said: “With more than one in four people of the working age population in Mid Ulster and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council areas classified as economically inactive, I am keen to ensure that assistance and support is provided for those disengaged individuals to help them re-enter education and employment.
“To aid the provision of specialist support services I have allocated £270,000, over a three year period, from my Department’s Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation (TRPSI) budget in support of the SUSE+ Programme.
“SUSE+ is an excellent fit with my Department’s ‘Tackling Rural Poverty and Social Isolation Framework’ and a key strand in our delivery plans. I am confident that SUSE+ will make a tremendous difference to hundreds of otherwise isolated and disadvantaged young people and adults and I am pleased that my Department will play its part, along with South West College and the Programme’s other partners, to help this initiative become the success it deserves to be.”
The SUSE+ Programme is a three year initiative delivered by South West College. The Programme has been awarded funding from the European Social Fund 2014/20 (ESF) through the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL), and also involves Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, Mid Ulster District Council and the Northern, Southern and Western Health Trusts.