Minister Harris announces further construction and retrofitting course for long-term unemployed

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today congratulated graduates of a three-week construction and retrofitting course.

The East Docklands Local Employment Service Construction Skills and Retrofitting programme in Dublin Port, run by St Andrew’s Resource Centre, is focussed on helping the long-term unemployed upskill quickly and find gainful employment in the construction industry.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “As we aim to become Carbon Neutral by 2030, retrofitting has become a key skill for access to many residential and commercial projects.

“The aim of the programme is to break down barriers between unemployed and employers. I fully believe that the work that happens here is a crucial step towards introducing these learners back into the jobs.

“With an average of 63% gaining employment within the first month of completing this course, I have no doubt there will be a significant appetite for the second round.

“I want to thank the St Andrew’s Resource Centre, as Department of Social Protection, Dublin Port, Skillnet Ireland, Dublin City Council, North East Inner City Taskforce and the Inner City Renewal Group, for all their tireless work on this project, and without whom we would not have been here today to mark this special occasion.”

The three-week construction course, which began four years ago and recently added “Green Home” retrofitting modules, has trained 315 people, 197 of whom have gone on to secure jobs in the industry.

Recruitment is already underway for the next course, for graduation mid-December, and demand for places is high.

Jim Hargis, Employment Services Manager at St Andrews Resource Centre, said: “The success of the project is that it is constantly evolving to ensure it meets local employers’ needs.

“Not only is it a successful, low-cost solution that fulfils the need of taking people off the live register, it puts them into sustainable well-paid jobs in a sector that is crying out for workers.

“Furthermore, it now ensures that they have up to date retrofitting skills that contribute to the green economy. We are extremely proud that the project has built up an excellent reputation with employers in the sector and is now seen as a reliable source of trained labour.

“As employment demand in the sector evolves so too does the skillset we offer our trainees. The trainees go through three weeks of intensive training, which includes all basic operative training including, health and safety.

“They graduate on a Friday with their training and equipment fully ready to start work the following week and it has been a life changing experience for many of them.”