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Slash and Save strategy will cost over 220 jobs

6 December, 2004

Sinn Féin Employment and Learning Spokesperson, West Belfast MLA Cllr Michael Ferguson has warned that ten training organisations across West and South Belfast are to set to lose as many as 220 jobs (not including Trainers) as a direct consequence of the DEL Minister Barry Gardiner's 'Slash & Save Strategy', which is not about the "Redirection of resources in to priority frontline services".

The job losses will happed due to the budget cuts to the New Deal, LearnDirect & Worktrack Programmes with Organisations such as the Springfield Charitable Association and Springvale Hundreds more jobs provided Training Consortium organisations across the Six Counties will also go and representatives from the WorkTrack Forum will brief MLAs at the Assembly on Monday. (6.11.04 at 11am)

Commenting upon the Minister's Strategy Cllr Ferguson said:

"The decisions by DEL can only be described as Ministerial Mayhem. The cuts to Worktrack, LearnDirect, New Deal and now Bridge to Employment will result in the loss of hundreds of jobs across Belfast and hundreds more across the Six Counties with a knock-on impact on Training Providers themselves.

"The situation has been worsened this week with news that there is no money left this year of next for the Bridge-To-Employment Programme and the 100 jobs ring fenced with employers such as Northbrook and Phoenix.

"This latter programme was a targeted initiative that resulted from the Jobs Task Force Report and will mean that 100 jobs for the Shankill and Falls will be lost.

"DEL does not have a Skills Strategy but a Slash and Save Strategy, which can only be described as Ministerial Mayhem.

"Those Training Organisations best placed to address the numeracy and literacy difficulties identified by DEL as responsible for unemployment and Skills Gaps are having their budgets slashed and given to the FE sector who have never been able to resolve the problems." ENDS

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