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REGEN: Southill’s Community Employment Project still securing jobs twenty-five years later

Community Employment officer Rose Slattery. Photo: Monica Wu, Limerick Voice

Moldova woman Oxana Furtuna, has just secured a full-time job with the Southill Development Co-op thanks to the training she received from the local Community Employment Project.

Southill was defined as an “unemployment blackspot” with an unemployment rate of 45 per cent in 2016.

To tackle this problem, Tait House Community Enterprise launched the Community Employment Project 25 years ago, and is funded by Department of Social Protection.

The aim of the project is to develop people’s technical and personal skills for work and it currently has 72 trainees.

Community Employment officer Rose Slattery said: “The main objective of Community Employment is to enable long-term unemployed people to re-enter the labour market through the provision of training and work experience on a fixed term basis.”

Community Employment officer Rose Slattery. Photo: Monica Wu, Limerick Voice

In 2015 when Oxana was confronted with difficulties in getting an internship, one of her friends suggested that she should go to Tait House to get some help securing employment.

There, one of Community Employment supervisors suggested that she should engage in the Community Employment Project where she could improve her working skills and her chances of getting a job or an internship.

The first part-time job she secured on the project was as a receptionist in Tait House, but this also posed some challenges.

“The trickiest part for me is to answer the phone calls especially taking down people’s names,” she said.

But Oxana built up her confidence and communication skills gradually with the encouragement from her colleagues in Community Employment.

Soon after that, she got another job as an administrator in the Community Employment office and this posed bigger challenges because she had to acquire accounting skills.

Oxana attended a two-year accounting technician course which later brought a big change to her life.

In the last year of the course, Oxana was offered a role in the accounting department of the Community Employment Project, before receiving a full-time job offer at Southill Development Co-op based on her experience and the skills that she had gained.

“I’m happy that I have the supports from the supervisors, the CEO and everybody here,” said Oxana.

“I’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past three years, but they taught me lessons as well. I’m so lucky that I could always get a hand from people around me.”

“I don’t think I would get another opportunity like this to learn so much,” she added.

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