YOUNG people across Armagh with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Aspergers Syndrome will now be enabled to realise their full potential thanks to the launch of a new print room in the City.
Employment and Learning Minister, Dr. Stephen Farry, on Wednesday,attended the launch of a new Print Room project in Armagh to assist young people not in education, employment or training (NEET).
The social enterprise project, run by the Appleby Trust, will enable 50 young people from the Armagh area with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Aspergers Syndrome to realise their full potential through participating in a specialised digital print company, delivered in a specifically designed environment that will provide transitional support, work experience and accredited training in employability skills. The project is funded under the Department for Employment and Learning’s Collaboration and Innovation Fund.
Speaking from event at Thomas Street in Armagh, the Minister Farry said: “The Collaboration and Innovation Fund is a key element of the Pathways to Success Strategy and has been designed to explore new approaches to address the specific and general barriers to employment faced by those in the NEETs group, particularly young people with disabilities. The Appleby Trust is one of 18 community, voluntary and educational sector projects that will share over £9million to help over 5,500 unemployed young people throughout Northern Ireland.”
The Minister secured over £25million to fund a comprehensive range of new initiatives to support the successful implementation of the Pathways to Success’ Strategy to help young people in the NEET group who face barriers to participation in the labour market, and to tackle the wider problem of youth unemployment strategy during the period 2012 to 2015.
These new initiatives include a Community Family Support Programme focused on the needs of disadvantaged families; a Community Based Access Programme to enable 16 to 18 year olds to increase their essential skills qualifications; a Pathways Allowance to ensure that there is an effective incentive in place for eligible unemployed young people to participate in projects supported by the Department for Employment and Learning and the Collaboration and Innovation Fund.
The Minister concluded: “I am very much aware of the barriers to employment facing young people, particularly those with disabilities. The Appleby Trust Print Room project is an excellent example of how collaboration and innovation can be effectively combined to provide young people with Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Aspergers Syndrome, with the skills they need to improve their prospects of employment and increase their life chances. I look forward to hearing the outcomes from the project activity.”