Women in Business is delighted to announce that 181 participants from its Connect Programme have moved into self-employment.
The Connect Programme, funded by Belfast City Council, European Social Fund and the Department for the Economies, boasts the highest employment rate conversion of any programme of its kind in Northern Ireland.
It offers free and flexible advice for women who are not currently working including masterclasses, workshops, training and one to one support.
Commenting Roseann Kelly, Women in Business Chief Executive said, “Last year we supported over 100 women into employment or self-employment exceeding all expectations. Entering the workplace for the first time, re-entering or increasing working hours can be daunting - the Connect Programme offers a wide range of tailored free resources, which inspire and equip women with the tools and confidence they need to take the next step into employment.
“Participants can benefit from mentors who deliver workshops, training and one to one sessions on employability and confidence building, as well as the networking opportunities Women in Business provide. We are delighted to be able to deliver this programme and support women across Northern Ireland to reach their full potential.”
Over 709 women have registered with the scheme since the beginning of the programme in 2015. Lisa Woods a beneficiary of the Connect Programme, started her company, Merlin Productions in late 2016.
In the short time since opening, Merlin Productions has become one of the leading production companies in NI, working alongside leading advertising agencies, producing TV commercials and online content for some of Northern Ireland’s and Irelands most recognised and successful organisations.
Lisa believes the programme was instrumental in her business success, “The training and support I received through the Connect Programme helped me elevate my business to the next level and become the successful business it is today.
“The programme and in particular, the one-to-one mentoring I received enabled me to fulfil my long-term goal of starting my own business. It gave me the skills and additional knowledge I needed to propel my business forward. The fact that this programme is free, makes it accessible to everyone and whether you know what direction you would like your career to go in, or you are just looking for inspiration, I could not recommend it highly enough.
“There is a lot of support offered in many formats and on a range of topics including: advice on seeking employment; becoming self-employed; retraining; and personal development. The Women in Business team and resources were always on hand to assist and it was reassuring to know that there were other women taking part in the programme who were in the same situation and were there for much needed support.”
Connect is designed to enable women to access the support they need, as and when they need it, fitting around individual commitments.
In Northern Ireland and further afield, women are a hugely underdeveloped resource. We have many highly skilled and experienced women who, if given the right support, could not only positively impact the economy, but also change their lives and the lives of those around them. The Connect Programme gives these women the platform to do this.
To find out more information or to register for The Connect Programme visit www.womeninbusinessni.com/connect.