Three Allstate employees discussing business within their office

Bridging the Gap for Graduates

Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry, has today acknowledged the success of the Department's Bridge to Employment programme which has seen over 60 non IT graduates recruited to IT positions since January. Welcoming Allstate Northern Ireland's successful use of the Bridge to Employment programme, Dr Farry said:

"My department has been able to assist Allstate Northern Ireland to recruit and train such a large number of graduates. Through the Bridge to Employment programme over 60 non IT graduates have gained new skills which has allowed them to enter the ICT sector. ICT is one of the priority skills areas within Northern Ireland and is experiencing significant growth. My department, through various initiatives such as the ICT Action Plan and the Software Testers Academy, will continue to provide support and assistance to meet the skills needs of the sector."


Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry acknowledged the success of the Department's Bridge to Employment programme which has seen over 60 non IT graduates recruited to IT positions with All State since January. Also pictured Bro McFerran, Managing Director, All State and recent Bridge to Employment recruits (ltor) Clara McFall from Omagh, Declan Conway from Craigavon and Magdalena Bernatek from Belfast. The Bridge to Employment Programme offers a bespoke recruitment and pre-employment training service designed for employers to get new recruits job ready from day one of their employment.

The Department for Employment and Learning recognises the importance of the ICT sector for economic growth in Northern Ireland and recently published an ICT Action Plan to articulate the short, medium and long term actions required to support the ICT sector.

The Bridge to Employment Programme offers a bespoke recruitment and pre-employment training service designed for employers to get new recruits job ready from day one of their employment. The programme has been established for over 10 years and it has been used by companies in a wide range of sectors to recruit and train new staff at all levels.

During a visit to the company's Belfast site, the Minister met with the Managing Director, Bro McFerran and a number of the recently recruited graduates.

Clara McFall, from Omagh, a recent Bridge to Employment recruit to Allstate NI said:

"With little ICT knowledge, I began training in Software Development, progressing on to Project Management within three weeks. At the end of six weeks, I was offered a permanent position within Allstate NI as a Project Manager. I currently have responsibility over five projects across three sites and, although somewhat challenging, it is also thoroughly enjoyable."

Allstate Northern Ireland, formerly known as Northbrook Technology, was established in Belfast in 1998. The NI office provides software development services and business process outsourcing solutions in support of its U.S. parent's global operations.

Bro McFerran commented:

"The Bridge to Employment programme has been extremely successful for Allstate Northern Ireland, this year alone we have employed over 60 people through this programme with a 95% pass rate. This is likely to increase to over 100 before the end of the year. The programme offers a great opportunity for non IT graduates who are finding it hard to get work, to kick start their career in a well established company. Previous Bridge to Employment students have now progressed to Project Managers and Team Managers, providing a very valuable contribution to the company. We are lucky that we are still growing as a company in this current economic climate, talent is our lifeblood at Allstate and we welcome this new cohort of people to our team."

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