migrant access programme

What is the Migrant Access Programme?

 The Migrant Access Programme (MAP for short) is a support programme that has been specifically created to aid migrants that are now living in Northern Ireland.  It helps those migrants that are economically inactive with English language classes in order to help them gain employment. 

This Migrant Access Programme is a specialist programme funded by the Uk Government as part of their Levelling Up initiative, and there is no cost to participants to take part.

Who can apply?

If you are from a migrant or ethnic minority background and are not working- but would like support with your English language skills to help you get a job, then the Migrant Access Programme could be for you.   

The programme is all about building your confidence and aims to transform your life financially and emotionally, by improving your level of English, to allow you to gain employment. We can also help you with job mentoring and support- all in the aim of gaining a new job which will benefit not only you but your family and community as well. You can read more about how the programme is helping different initiatives across Northern Ireland here  https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/northern-ireland-levelling-up-case-studies

You can also read more general information of the Levelling Up Programme here on BBC News: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/56238260 

You can also read more here about our second Levelling Up programme called Work it Out- which focuses on helping those out of work with Maths Essential Skills: https://people-1st.co.uk/programmes/work-it-out/

The Migrant Access Programme Classes are held in person and also online.
The Migrant Access Programme classes are a friendly and relaxed place to come for classes

Our helpful Migrant Access Programme team are there to help you every step of the way. On joining the programme you will be able to get support with a range of practical and helpful tasks such as:

  • English Classes (for Speakers of Other Languages – ESOL)
  • CV writing
  • completing application forms
  • improving your job interview skills and techniques
  • job searching
  • mock interview preparation
  • employment support and more!

We will do this through classes as well as one to one sessions. Our main aim is to support you so whether that be a friendly voice over the phone or in person, we are here to help make adjusting to your new life in Northern Ireland, that little bit easier.


Our 'Migrant Access Programme' team

Launched in March 2023, the Migrant Access Programme is headed up by experienced Project Manager Maretta Nicolson. Maretta and the team are based across Northern Ireland and are focused on helping you improve your English and gain employment. 

We currently cover the following council areas:

  • Armagh, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council
  • Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council
  • Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

In person classes are currently running in the following locations:

Monday morning- Lisburn
Tuesday morning- Armagh
Wednesday morning- Newry
Thursday morning- Portadown

and we have an online class every Wednesday afternoon for conversation and culture.

Maretta and the team will be happy to answer any questions for you. Please feel free to contact Maretta by email or phone on the contact details below.

Our Migrant Access Programme- Why choose People 1st to help support you?

We offer the highest standards of support and mentoring for participants and our team is highly experienced in delivering this programme. We have a network of support staff across Northern Ireland and we will carry out an initial assessment on meeting, to help determine the level of support needed. Our team will guide and mentor you throughout  your time on the Migrant Access Programme to ensure you are making great progress towards the goal of gaining better english and in turn, new employment.


Search Icon

You can be referred to this programme from your local job centre or from another community service. You can also contact us directly and apply yourself.

As this is a flexible, person-centred programme, we aim to communicate with you in the manner that you prefer. This doesn’t always have to be face to face, it can also be via phone calls, text messages, emails or social media, and it is always centred around you.

Search Icon

The Migrant Access Programme is a completely voluntary and free service for anyone that is is eligible.  


Search Icon

No this programme will not affect your benefits at all.

Our team of mentors are here to support you and we are an independent service, and not linked to the benefits system at all. We are here to help you adjust to living in Northern Ireland.

Search Icon

Classes are normally around 2 hours each to let you take time to learn at your own pace and are led by a specialist essential skills tutor. 

Search Icon

Classes are weekly:

  • Lisburn-  Monday afternoon
  • Armagh- Tuesday Morning
  • Portadown- Thursday morning.

These classes are for Migrants who have no English, online Conversation/Cultural classes on a Wednesday afternoon for Migrants who have basic English and would like to improve it. More classes will be announced in the coming weeks. 

Search Icon

Whether you have zero English at all or have some level of language- we will always carry out an initial assessment first to determine your level. We are here to help without judgement. Our main aim is to give you the support you require at any stage of your language journey. 

We are compassionate and supportive, and are ready to help you overcome any barriers you may be facing.

Hear from participants of past programmes...

“Having been in long term employment for over 20 years, it was very difficult to know where to start when it came to looking for employment. Karen offered excellent advice and real support when it came to completing application forms and creating a CV. She was very friendly and efficient and I would highly recommend the services of the team at People 1st to anyone in the same position as me” Brenda, Past Client

“I personally found People 1st an invaluable service whilst looking for alternative employment opportunities. A personalised C. V. Tailored by the mentor was fundamental in securing me employment long term…I highly recommend People 1st and would encourage continued support for this vital service.” SC, Past Client

“I found Karen Campbell a fantastic source of support when job hunting. From CV preparation to interview skills, Karen guided me and developed my confidence. Although my first interview was unsuccessful, Karen sourced alternative interviews through her many contacts and I was successful in gaining a suitable position.” GW, Past Client

Trusted Partners