[chapter title=”NORTHSIDE LOCAL EMPLOYMENT SERVICE” subtitle=”We love our offices” summary=”” background=”” animation=””]

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On Friday July 1st, Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton officially opened the new premises of Northside Local Employment Service at Watch House Cross, Limerick.

These premises are a result of the merging of two full time Outreach Offices of the Local Employment Service (LES) which were located in Moyross and St. Munchin’s Community Centres.  The relocation of these to one central office on the Northside of the city will enhance the services available to unemployed people seeking assistance with accessing education, training and employment opportunities.  The more accessible and visible premises will provide a gateway for people to avail of information and advice, Job Mediation and Career Guidance and job placement.

Since its inception in 1996 the LES, which is one strand of the National Employment Service, (FAS is the other strand), offers a free and confidential service providing intensive guidance and support to job seekers.  Limerick LES, which is managed by PAUL Partnership, collaborates with a wide range of service providers to ensure comprehensive support is given to its clients, enabling them to develop a career plan and progress to employment. In order to deliver a personalised service tailored to individual needs a holistic approach is taken with the client to address any barriers to progression.  One of the core principles of the LES is the localised service which has meant full time office in areas of the city which experience the highest levels of unemployment, ‘bringing the service to the people’.  The outreach offices were managed by local community organisations, MECO (Moyross Community Co-operative) which was responsible for the St. Munchin’s office, and Moyross Community Enterprise Centre managing the Moyross office.  This model ensured that the LES was closely linked with its local community which ensured clients were seen in familiar surroundings.
From the outset Limerick LES has built a good working relationship with other agencies, including the Department of Social Protection with which it works to improve the outcomes for clients who wanted to avail of training or education or to apply for payments such as Back to Education Allowance.  Currently, PAUL Partnership is responsible for the roll out of the TUS programme in Limerick city.  This initiative, and other programmes such as Community Employment, Work Placement Programme (WPP) and the newly launched National Internship Scheme, all assist clients of the LES to develop and maintain employability skills.  The offices of the Northside LES will offer a one stop shop for information and advice on these and other programmes or on employment opportunities.  In addition to the services of LES personnel the unit will house a dedicated office from which DSP personnel will deliver specific services to its customers.   The shared facilities will also be used by FAS External Training and Community Officers as required. The integration of such services is aimed at simplifying the process for clients and ensuring one point of contact for employment related needs.

The fit out of the premises has been grant aided by Limerick Regeneration Agency.  Recognising from the beginning the importance of employment in combating disadvantage, the provision of an integrated employment and entitlements service is seen as a significant step in the regeneration process by delivering integrated, personalised support services to jobseekers.  Further financial support was provided by FAS and PAUL Partnership.

To date this year the LES has registered in excess of 1,000 clients and has placed 126 in employment.  Total registrations for 2010 were 2,087 and 1,190 were progressed to employment, training or education.[/paragraph]

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