Employment and Skills Support

Labour Market Partnership

MEALMP Action Plan     Manufacturing Skills Academies     Transport Academy     

Enterprise Pathway   Future First Programme     Access All Areas   

Women Returners Programme      CleanTech Hub          Upcoming Events: NI Apprenticeship Week 2023

Mid and East Antrim Labour Market Partnership aims to support more people into meaningful employment.

The Labour Market Partnership (LMP) is a province-wide approach developed by the Department of Communities and aims to address issues with jobs and training by combining resources and delivering a collaborative and flexible approach to employability support.

The LMP focuses on improving labour market conditions and addressing issues with employers, training providers, as well as community and voluntary organisations.

Contact us at: lmp@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

Mid and East Antrim Labour Market Partnership - 2022/23 Action Plan

Manufacturing Skills Academy

Career opportunities with The Manufacturing Academy

Join the four-week fully funded training programme where you will learn from industry experts and be introduced to a range of manufacturing processes, standard operating procedures, quality control and lean techniques.

The course includes practical hands on skills, company visits and guest speakers.

Start Date: February 2023

Location: Northern Regional College (Newtownabbey Campus)


  • Up to £50 weekly training allowance and travel allowance
  • Guaranteed job interview leading to potential employment
  • College certificate
  • Links to further training programmes

Who can apply?

You must be over 16 years of age and living in the wider Larne and Carrickfergus areas. Preference will be given to those who are economically inactive, long-term unemployed or under-employed (typically working less than 21 hours)

If you’re interested in participating in the programme, please apply /online via the Northern Regional College's Manufacturing Academy webpage.

Alternatively T: 028 2563 3345 or e: lmp@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

Mid & East Antrim Transport Academy

The Transport Academy provides all the required training to enable participants to acquire the Category C / HGV Class 2 or Category D / PCV bus licence and supports them to compete for professional driver roles with local employers. 

Places are limited, to progress to the selection process, candidates must:

  • Reside within the Mid & East Antrim Borough Council Area
  • Be unemployed or under-employed (typically working less than 21 hours)
  • Hold a full, clean, current UK Driving Licence – candidates must have held a full UK Driving Licence for at least 2 years. Both the plastic card and paper counterpart will be required to obtain the necessary provisional entitlement to commence training
  • Be willing and able to undertake a medical exam
  • Be committed and available to complete all required aspects of the Academy including appointments for medicals, theory test classes, lessons, tests and interviews
  • Be committed to taking up appropriate employment within the Transport sector

The Academy is managed by Workforce Training Services, to apply email your contact details including address and postcode to info@workforceonline.org by 12.00pm on Monday 25 July.

Please include ‘Mid & East Antrim Transport Academy’ in the subject line and indicate your preference for either Category C (HGV) or Category D (Bus) within your email.

Workforce is closed 11 – 22 July and will contact applicant’s w/c 25 July.

To address the gender imbalance within the transport sector we particularly welcome applications from women.  

Transport Employers

Borough-based employers interested in engaging with the Academy to support driver recruitment should contact sean.keenan@midandeastantrim.gov.uk.

For any other information, please contact lmp@midandeastantrim.gov.uk or T: 028 2563 3345.

Mid & East Antrim Enterprise Pathway

The Enterprise Pathways Programme helps MEA residents furthest removed from the labour market to create their own job through self-employment.

Enterprise Pathways will engage those most in need of enhanced support and will prioritise applications from people with long-term health conditions, people with disabilities, people with caring responsibilities and people with low skills/low educational attainment.

Participants will be supported over a period of up to 8 months to identify, explore and test business ideas, develop enterprise and personal skills, build networks, test trade, start and grow a business.   

Each participant is matched with a Skills Coach / Business Mentor and will benefit from up to 15 hours of 1:2:1 bespoke support to help realise their personal goals. Enterprise Pathways support will be additional to and complement existing business start provision available through the Go For It programme.  

Participants can apply to the Get Started Fund to help remove specific barriers to entry, purchase essential equipment and/or acquire specialist services to help accelerate their progress towards self-employment.

To be eligible, applicants must:

  • be unemployed/economically inactive MEA residents with the right to work in the UK
  • have the desire to start a business in the next 6 months, though may not yet have a pre-determined business idea
  • be committed to engaging with all aspects of the programme and working towards full-time self-employment

To apply:

Send an email registering your interest to: venturefolk@gmail.com with the email subject: Enterprise Pathways Application


If you would like to refer a client to the programme, you can download a referral form and send it to: venturefolk@gmail.com with the email subject: Enterprise Pathways Referral

Future First Programme

Future First will give behind-the-scenes access to a range of local sectors for a pilot groups of young people (15-16) who are at risk of leaving education with no clear destination or becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training).

Upcoming events will be held to support those seeking work to move into employment, training or education offering the opportunity for residents and young people to connect with employers and improve their knowledge of career pathways and opportunities.

More details to follow.

Access All Areas

Access All Areas is a new Mid and East Antrim Labour Market Partnership initiative, funded by the Department for Communities and delivered by local training and employment specialists, Network Personnel.

Access All Areas will support 20 motivated individuals who are dealing with the additional challenges and barriers to employment due to disabilities/long term health conditions. Each participant will receive bespoke support aligned with their individual circumstances, to enable them to avail of work tasters, placements and employment opportunities with local employers.

Network Personnel’s skilled team of employment mentors will ensure that Access All Areas participants are equipped with the appropriate support and attitudes to produce mutually beneficial outcomes for both participants and employers. Network Personnel will deliver an ‘end to end’ service, providing introductions and guidance (including access to grants, equipment etc.), matching participants with appropriate industries, roles and local employers. Training can also be arranged to ensure that participants have the appropriate skills to meet employer needs.

It is anticipated that socially conscious Mid & East Antrim employers will contribute to the success of Access All Areas by engaging with Network Personnel and programme participants, providing short term and long term opportunities for individuals who face additional challenges in finding and securing employment.

If you would like to participate or if your organisation would like contribute to a legacy of opportunity and inclusion in the Mid & East Antrim region, please contact Alex McKee at Network Personnel T: 028 2568 9509 / 028 7963 1032 or info@networkpersonnel.org.uk.

Women Returners Programme

RISE: Returners Into Sustained Employment

RISE is an exciting new initiative, open to women who reside in the MEA area, who have had a break from work through life changes such as caring, illness or redundancy and who need a helping hand to take those first steps towards employment.

RISE offers:

  • A 6-week programme of activities addressing the real issues that women face when returning to work (group and 1-1)
  • Health and Well-being support
  • Action planning and mentoring
  • Help with CV building and interview techniques
  • Accredited & non-accredited training
  • Introductions to local employers
  • Work tasters/placement opportunities

This programme is open to residents of Mid & East Antrim Borough Council only.

For more information on RISE, please contact Network Personnel on:

T: 028 2568 9509

T: 028 7963 1032

E: info@networkpersonnel.org.uk

CleanTech Hub

Targeting participants who want to upskill and transition towards better quality jobs. Support MEA as the province’s leading region for the hydrogen economy and for clean tech, supporting the regional skills ecosystem by upskilling additional trainers, technicians and new industry entrants.

More details to follow.

Upcoming events

NI Apprenticeship Week 2023: 6 - 10 February 2023

A number of activities are taking place across the Borough to promote apprenticeships and mark NI Apprenticeship Week.

Building Tomorrow’s Talent - Tuesday 7 February - 2pm:

Information session for 16- 24 year olds focusing on construction apprenticeships, particularly opportunities linked to the regeneration of the former St. Patrick’s Barracks site. 

Partners: Council, Construction Industry Training Board (NI), Radius Housing and M J McBride (Contractor).  

Venue: Radius Housing / M J McBride site (former St Patrick’s Barracks) - access via Demesne Ave, Ballymena.

Places are limited and booking is essential, email: amplify@midandeastantrim.gov.uk to secure your place.

Cleantech Takeover – Wednesday 8 February - 10am - 12noon:

Information session for year 12/13 students around career pathways in the hydrogen, renewables and cleantech sectors. 

Partners: Council, Northern Regional College, Belfast Metropolitan College, BSH Limited, Firmus Energy, Phoenix Natural Gas, Energia, NIE Networks and Wrightbus.

Venue: The Braid, Ballymena. 

This is a schools event and is not open to the public.

NRC Higher Level Apprenticeships – Wednesday 8 February - 5pm - 7pm:

Are you studying A-Levels or a Level 3 qualification and wish to explore your options?

Are you working and interested in upskilling and gaining a recognised qualification?

Find out about HLAs offered at Northern Regional College and link with employers across a variety of business sectors.

Venue: The Braid, Ballymena. 

For more information and registration visit the Eventbrite website.

Caterpillar Schools Engagement Sessions

Year 12-14 pupils from Larne High School, Larne Grammar School and St. Killian’s College will gain insight into the diverse career opportunities at Caterpillar and hear about their Level 2/3 Apprenticeship and Level 5 Higher Level Apprenticeship programmes.

Schools events are not open to the public.

Mid & East Antrim Manufacturing Task Force Event: “Apprenticeships - Providing Skills for Life” - Friday 10 February 2023

Mid & East Antrim Manufacturing Task Force ‘Business Breakfast’ exploring best practice in apprenticeships hosted by McCue, Carrickfergus.

Speakers include Gary Purdy (Managing Director, McCue), Graham Whitehurst (Chair of Mid and East Antrim MTF), Sean McAleese (Training Manager, Northern Regional College) and Michael Harris (Department for the Economy).

This event is for MEA based employers in the manufacturing, construction, engineering and agri-food sectors. 

Attendance is by invite only, please contact: invest@midandeastantrim.gov.uk

To learn about other public events taking place for NI Apprenticeship Week 2023, visit the NIDirect government services website.