New Service For Economically Inactive Across NI Launches To Combat Unemployment

Enterprise NI and Prince’s Trust team up to deliver Northern Ireland Explore Enterprise Support Service to 1200 people

A new service aimed at engaging Northern Ireland’s most economically inactive people was launched by Enterprise NI and Prince’s Trust this week.

The new service Northern Ireland Explore Enterprise Support Service (NIEESS), is set to run until March 31, 2025. It will offer anyone across the country, considered economically inactive the ability to develop their entrepreneurial and employability skills.

This project has received £1.8m from the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and is set to target around,1200 individuals aged 16 and above.

The service, delivered by Local Enterprise Agencies and Prince’s Trust will improve enterprise, interpersonal, and employability skills of those taking part, helping them improve their marketability as a candidate and ultimately become self-employed or find a job.

The Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency’s 2022 (NISRA) Labour Market Report found that people who are economically non-responsive made up around 28.3% of the 16-64 age group between April – June 2022, meaning that over a quarter of the eligible working population weren’t working at all or looking for work.

Michael McQuillan, Chief Executive of Enterprise Northern Ireland said: “We are very excited about the new service and how it puts the citizen at the centre of a range of supports, connecting them with the right support at the right time. 

“In doing so, we feel our partnership with Prince’s Trust NI will ensure citizens throughout Northern Ireland experiencing the barriers of economic inactivity will have the opportunity to make personal and positive strides in their lives.”

By encouraging out-of-work individuals to develop themselves both personally and professionally, the aim of the service is to boost the economy by helping participants become economically active.

NIEESS is aimed at individuals who have been out of employment for a minimum of four weeks and those who are currently unable to start a new position due to everything from a lack of transferable skills to an inability to engage with the job market due to personal circumstances.

Mark Dougan, NI Director of the Prince’s Trust NI said: “In the Prince’s Trust, our ambition is to give more disadvantaged young people the opportunity to create a better future through Employment, Education and Enterprise. 

“We have a long history of supporting young people to explore their business idea, with many progressing into self-employment with the support of our staff and expert business volunteers. 

“The Prince’s Trust are excited to be working in partnership with Enterprise Northern Ireland to launch the Northern Ireland Explore Enterprise Support Service, which will give local entrepreneurs the opportunity to explore, test and refine their business idea and journey towards self-employment.”

The service delivery partners will identify mentors and trainers who will be on-hand for the service users to offer a participant centric approach meaning everyone who signs up will be given a tailored package of support which will provide holistic support targeted to their individual needs and areas where people require the most assistance.

It is estimated that the scheme will provide assistance to over 1200 service users helping them to transition towards employment or entrepreneurship.

For more information about the Northern Ireland Explore Enterprise Support Service (NIEESS) go to 

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