As a result of Brexit, European Social Fund initiatives are under threat across Northern Ireland  and those people it supports are facing losing a vital service.  
This specialist ESF funding supports the incredible work carried out by our Community Family Support Programme and LEMIS WORKS, which are both funded by the European Social Fund money which is coming to an end. Please read and share to show your support for these amazing programmes that help change the lives of those we are able to help.
ESF Peer Group chair Rev Andrew Irvine, who is chief executive of East Belfast Mission, said: “Everyone accepts that the work of our members is invaluable to the most disadvantaged and marginalised in society who find it difficult to access employment. Our members currently support over 17,000 vulnerable people and we’ve helped almost 12,000 people secure employment. But if we can’t secure continuity in funding, the 1,700 people who provide this support will face a very uncertain future.”
We are delighted to have been awarded one of Deloitte Irelands Best Managed Companies 2022, at their annual awards ceremony held this week in Dublin.
This is an incredible achievement by the whole People 1st team, and we would like to thank all involved! We are amongst some other great NI Businesses and strategic partners such as Hendersons, Frylite Group and Mount Charles. We congratulate them and all other 135 winners for gaining this prestigious award.
Ireland’s Best Managed Companies Awards programme promotes and recognises excellence in Irish/Northern Irish owned and managed companies and is the only awards scheme on the island of Ireland that considers business performance from every perspective. Entrants to the programme compete for the designation in a rigorous process that evaluates the calibre of their management abilities and practices in addition to the strategy, capability, innovation, culture and financial performance of their companies.
Now entering its fourteenth year, the programme represents 26 counties across the island of Ireland, ranging in sectors from retail and hospitality to manufacturing and construction. Led by Deloitte Ireland, in association with Bank of Ireland, this business network comprises of 136 companies including People 1st, with a combined turnover of €13.9 billion and employ a total of 51,000 people. We would also like to thank the team at Deloitte Ireland. 
This accolade really is a testament to the fabulous People 1st team that work closely together to make awards like this possible!! We thank each and every one of you for the valuable role that you play in this company. Congratulations to everyone involved!
We have exciting news just released of Hospitality Academy, we are running in partnership with Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council
What is the Hospitality Academy and who is it for? 
The Hospitality Academy will support 30 eligible individuals through a two-week fully funded, bespoke training programme designed to equip participants with the skills, knowledge, experience, and confidence to begin a career within the hospitality and tourism sector. 
What is included? 
✅ Introduction to Hospitality and Tourism sector including overview of service providers and career pathways on offer
✅ Industry site visits and guest speakers
✅ Practical taster sessions in a range of hospitality skills such as food and beverage service, kitchen skills and barista
✅ RSPH Level 2 Award in Food Safety and Hygiene
✅ Employability and mentoring
✅ Guaranteed interviews for live vacancies with top hospitality and tourism employers based in the borough.
Who can apply? 
This opportunity is open to all residents in the borough who are

unemployed, or working 16 hours/week or less, or at risk of redundancy. This course is fully funded so there will be no cost to the participants.

Are you a local hospitality employer? 
If you’re a local employer in the hospitality and tourism sector and would like to get involved, we’d love to hear from you too!
Further information and how to apply? 

To find out more and register for a place contact Charley Riddle on [email protected] or 028 3833 7000 before 1pm on Friday 14 October 2022. The Hospitality Academy will commence on Monday 17 October 2022. 

You can also apply online here directly via this link:

All places on the Hospitality Academy are funded by the Department for Communities through the Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Labour Market Partnership, and the programme is delivered by ourselves, People 1st.

You may have seen the exciting news announced last week about the Open College Network Northern Ireland grants scheme and how People 1st were one of the lucky companies awarded a share of £82,000, towards supporting disadvantaged learners.
We are delighted to be able to use this £2000 grant that we received effectively to support our learners with special needs and it will be put to great use. Hear from People 1st Director Brenda Kernaghan in the video above about how the award will go towards helping our learners.  
For those who are maybe new to the OCN NI, they are a not-for-profit, educational charity and an Awarding Organisation that advances education by developing nationally recognised qualifications and recognising the achievements of adults and young people. We are a proud strategic partner of the OCN NI, who is one of our awarding organisations and a funder. 
Martin Flynn, CEO of the OCN NI with People 1st Director Brenda Kernaghan

In the first grants scheme of its kind in Northern Ireland, the Open College Network NI (OCN NI) has awarded £82K to thirty-four education, voluntary and charitable training providers throughout the province. 

This is the first learner funding scheme of its kind launched in Northern Ireland by an awarding organisation, explained Martin Flynn, CEO, OCN NI.

Martin said: “The Centre Learning Grants Programme was created by OCN NI to help fulfil our charitable function with particular emphasis being given to help those who may be especially disadvantaged and would not otherwise have had the opportunities to engage in education.

“Originally, we planned to award £70K but the number of the entries and quality of the submissions resulted in the OCN NI board of trustees increasing the fund to £82K.  We awarded grants of between £500 and £3,000 to over thirty projects or activities that advance the mission and vision of OCN NI.”

Paul Donaghy Chair of OCN NI, said: “As part of our organisations Corporate & Social Responsibility commitments we are delighted to be in a position to ‘give back’ to learners and training providers through the development of the Grants Programme in line with the stated aims of our charitable function, ensuring the advancement of education for public benefit. This is a first for OCN NI and I am confident the grants will help engage, enrich and equip learners for life.”

Many of our People 1st students have been previous ‘Learning Endeavour’ award winners with the OCN NI annually, and we look forward to more successes, working together in the coming years.
Brenda Kernaghan, People 1st Director alongside representatives from other companies, celebrating the OCN NI grant awards with OCN NI CEO Martin Flynn

We have spaces NOW for 4 apprentice roofers for a building contractor who is based in Carrickfergus!! If you know someone aged 16-24 who wants to get into a trade? – then we want to hear from you. Get trained, get paid and get employed right from the beginning.

People 1st have opened up 4 spaces on our new course beginning next month. This is an incredible opportunity to get onto an apprenticeship that will have you trained up in a few short years and on the road to earning great money!!

Roofers in NI earn over £50,000 a year!! Thats more than a dentist, a teacher, and lots of other professions across NI! Put yourself onto a firm footing now for an incredible future with People 1st. We have a top training centre 15 mins outside Belfast where all our construction guys, including roofers, come one day a week for specialised training and then the other days are spent working with your employer!!

We have 4 vacancies ready to fill asap- our training team are ready, the employers are ready… are you ready? then contact us and sign up today by emailing our construction specialist Don on [email protected] or call 02890303982

The People 1st Apprenticeship team of Peter, Nadine and Trevor are going to be at the Apprentice Fair at Guildhall Derry on 13th October- find out more about how you can sign up to be an apprentice with us and gain qualifications while you work!

The apprenticeships programme is a fabulous way to ‘earn while you learn’ if you want to get trained and gain qualifications in a vocational area while you work and get paid.

This option really suited current trainee chef Sean Owens, who is studying for his Level 3 apprenticeship with People 1st NorthWest and Browns In Town. Sean loved cooking and while working part time in Browns decided to leave the world of computers to forge a new path way in the culinary arts:
” I was working in IT and decided to go down the chef path as it was much more suited to me. Culinary School was very expensive and the Apprenticeships programme allows me to gather the same skills without any expense. I’d highly recommend it to anyone, the Apprenticeships programmme has given me the opportunity to follow a new career path. “

If you have any questions in the lead up to the event our specialist Nadine Elliott will be happy to answer them, so either email [email protected] or call 07999 025671

You can also watch more about Sean’s story below and find out more about his journey with People 1st and his employer Browns in Town, Derry.

Invest in your warehousing team with an NVQ qualification and specialist training to develop your workforce into a team of motivated, efficient and skilled individuals. Warehousing is a crucial part of the local supply chain and with rising costs across the sector, it is more important than ever to have skilled and certified staff within your warehousing and logistics team to drive your business forward.

As demand continues to surge across this fast-paced sector, we recognise that warehousing staff need training and development to meet specific sector needs. We are offering an Apprenticeship in Warehousing to local businesses to help address skills shortages in this area by training new staff members or up-skilling existing team members. Use the skills and knowledge of our highly experienced tutors and assessors to learn how to handle these rapid advancements and improve the processes within your warehouse setting and ensure industry standards are met for quality, cost, and efficiency.

The next intake is open now for applications and with the courses starting on an ongoing basis, it is the ideal time to implement some changes and invest in your staff. The issue of an ageing workforce in Warehousing means an apprenticeship is a great way to inject fresh talent and incentivise younger team members so they are trained to progress when the time comes. Act now and make decisive changes for the better for your business- we are your preferred partner with over 25 years’ experience, delivering apprenticeship courses, People 1st will support you every step of the way.

We provide one to one guidance for the apprentice and will liaise directly with them to take care of the paperwork, and let you get on with running your business. Each Apprenticeship training is tailored to the needs of the individual employer and key skills delivered in this apprenticeship include: Organising Planning Customer Service IT Skills Teamwork Communication – formal and informal Personal Development And any other skills you feel the employee could benefit from!

We can also offer essential skills training in Maths and English to those who need it. Benefits to employee: Employed immediately and paid to learn Gain qualifications related to your industry Learn good problem-solving skills Work in a fast-paced environment Learn latest technology Work ‘on the job’ alongside experienced team members Receive ‘off the job’ quality training specific to Warehousing Receive mentorship from People 1st Gain skills for future progression.

 An Apprenticeship is the key to driving staff retention by investing in your team. Call our warehousing specialist Andrea at People 1st today on 07501724787 or email her at [email protected] to find out more about joining the May intake. Enrolment is now open so contact us today to secure your place!

We offer both Level 2 and Level 3 in this Apprenticeship, costs are as follow: Level 2: £850 plus vat plus initial £55 registration fee Level 3: £950 plus vat plus initial £65 registration fee.

Avail of full funding currently if you meet criteria on our Apprenticeships programme page. 

Are you a supervisor or a team leader on a construction site or are you a subcontractor working across different sites?

Do you know the legislation is changing in 2024 and you MUST hold the above qualification to be able to gain access and work on a building site. With this new legal requirement coming in less than 2 years… now is the time to BOOK your place to gain this qualification to allow you to continue on site!

-Achieve an NVQ Level 4 in Construction Site Supervision
-Required route to new/renewing CSR/CSCS Supervisors Gold Card 
-Develop technical skills and knowledge in Site Supervision techniques
-Keep updated with current management knowledge and process

We are specialists in this area and our skilled and experienced People 1st construction team, led by head tutor Peter Daly, will support you one to one and with a blended learning of in person and on line, to help you gain the qualification you need to meet the new legislation. 

Course start date: Wednesday 5th October 2022, 9am-1pm
Duration: 6 x 1/2 day workshops plus assessment
Cost: £1500+vat

We offer a payment plan to spread the cost and companies registered with CITB NI may be able to claim a grant for this course.


For more information please contact our in-house specialist Cathy Mc Garvey who will answer any queries you may have on this course. 
Contact Cathy on 07999 023 291 or email [email protected]

For over 25 years we have been training school leavers on the main government youth training programme, which is currently known as Skills for Life and Work. This programme provides 16 and 17 year olds, with some amazing life skills and training in a vocational area of their choice. They can chose from over 15 different subject areas to study so there is something for everyone, from Business to IT, Hair to Beauty, Catering to Retail, Joinery to Plumbing and much more – plus all classes are small, friendly groups, taught by kind and supportive tutors.

We have invested a lot over the last few years to create amazing facilities in-house for the students- we offer fully operational hair salons, barber salons, beauty academy, catering kitchen and construction academy for the more practical and hands on side of the course- the students spend a minimum of one day a week learning the practical skills of their chosen area and can also avail of time spent each week in a work placement too, once they are ready!!

We know too well that the jump from leaving school to the workplace can be a tough move and many are nervous about this, but we find they transition very well to People 1st this course gives students the skills to adapt – they learn so may new things, gain confidence, new friends and really just enjoy learning in a structured but relaxed environment. If they need support with essential skills of English, Maths and ICT we can also help with that!

We have 6 branches that offer the Skills for Life and Work school leavers training programme- Belfast South, Belfast West, Lisburn, Lurgan, Portadown and Newry. Enrolment is currently open for all courses and will run throughout the summer so if you would like to talk to a friendly face in your local branch then please contact the following team members, who are always happy to chat you through the options:

Belfast South- Conor on 07714433072 or [email protected]

Belfast West- Padraig on 9030 3986 or [email protected]

Lisburn- Tomás on 07856422489 or [email protected]

Lurgan- Sarah on 07999023125 or [email protected]

Portadown- Ciaran on 3886 8423 or [email protected]

Newry – Jason on 07999024913 or [email protected]

Apply online and find out more information here:

15 offices, 15 million steps, £15,000 for charity!
The People 1st Walk Against Hunger

The People 1st team, across 15 offices, have set ourselves an ambitious August challenge and its going to be a physical one!!

We are all joining together in our collective bid to walk a total of 15 million steps during this month to raise money to help fight food poverty and help donate to the incredible local food banks, chosen by each office.

The trainers are ready, the team is ready and we need everyones support to keep us going all month to get to our financial target of £15,000. We want to raise this worthwhile sum to help support the incredible work these charities do locally, to address the issue of food poverty.

Food banks are a crucial emergency response for families in dire need and we are facing historic levels of need locally. With the energy crisis, rising food costs and other factors, this winter is forecast to be the worst yet for local people, with many more predicted to suffer food poverty. We can all play our part and donations are open on our JustGiving page linked here: so please support in any way you can!

We will be sharing our progress across our socials during the challenge so please keep an eye out for how we are getting on!! We all need your support to help us get there! Fingers crossed for some sunny weather in August and let the walking commence this Monday 1st August!!!
Best of luck to all team members
we can do it!!!!