Fermanagh and Omagh to benefit from a new £2.8m employability Programme

4th April 2023

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South West College in collaboration with Fermanagh and Omagh District Council have been successful in securing funding from the UK Shared Prosperity Fund to enable the continuity of the employability programmes offered by both organisations.

The new Rural Economic Accelerator Programme (REAP) will be allocated funding of £2.8m to support economically inactive people across the districts of Fermanagh and Omagh and Mid Ulster.  

In Mid-Ulster, South West College will deliver with partners First Steps Women’s Centre and South Tyrone Empowerment Programme while in Fermanagh and Omagh, the Council will deliver with partners in Fermanagh Rural Community Initiative.

The South West College SUSE+ Programme, and Fermanagh and Omagh District Council ASPIRE Programme operated under the Northern Ireland European Social Fund (ESF) Programme and were part funded by ESF and the Department for the Economy.

The programmes had operated locally, complementing each other, for a period of 8 years between 2015 and 2023. Both programmes completed delivery on 31 March 2023 and in their 8 years supported thousands of participants to attain knowledge and skills to move towards employment.

Marking the end of the ASPIRE Programme at a recent Recognition Event in Strule Arts Centre, the Council Chair, Councillor Barry McElduff, commented: 

‘There is a real and compelling need for programmes like ASPIRE in the district to ensure opportunity for everyone. The benefits to participants are clear to see. This is evident in the collaborative approach implemented by the Council, with delivery partners, training providers, employers and support organisations across the district who have jointly contributed to its success over the 8 years.’ 

It is expected that the new programme will become operational during April 2023, with funding secured until 31 March 2025.