EPIC (Employment for People from Immigrant Communities) is a Business in the Community Ireland programme tailored for migrants, to support them in gaining meaningful employment and accessing education and training, making an impact on diversity and social inclusion in Ireland. since 2017 to date, 81% of participants have third-level education – 55% with primary degrees while 26% have completed postgraduate studies. The majority of them have extensive experience in their areas in their countries, but when they arrive in Ireland, they find it challenging to access professional employment even though they have skills and knowledge that are in demand in the Irish labour market.
Wallace is originally from Brazil and moved to Ireland in 2012. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Communication and Advertising and a Master’s Degree in Strategic Marketing. He had been looking for a job in his area for six months until one of his friends recommended him to try the EPIC Programme: “I’ve applied for a lot of job opportunities but I didn’t get any interview”. He decided to apply for the programme in January 2019 to “get to know more about the CV, interview preparation, and about the Irish culture” and started his training in February.
During the six weeks of EPIC training Wallace learned and developed his job seeking skills: “The programme was very good. I learned how to set up a CV in the Irish standards, I got a lot of tips during the CV preparation process, how to set up and use LinkedIn to improve the chances of getting a job.” EPIC not only covers the basics of the job application process, it also focuses on other areas such as body language, different communication styles and other types of support that our participants might need: “The programme covers the entire process of searching for work, giving support in different aspects, emotional and psychological, driving the search for employment.”
Apart from the training, which is done in groups of 16 people from different nationalities and backgrounds, participants meet weekly with their Career Counsellors. The support with the career counsellor is ongoing, so our participants are still working with them after finishing their training: “The Programme helped me a lot to find a job, preparing myself for the interview process.
The meetings with career counsellors are very valuable, they prepare you for the entire job search process, helping you write and adapt the CV and cover letters. Even after I finished the course I’m still getting emails from my career counsellor asking news about the job, if everything’s ok in the company.”
Business in the Community Ireland is the network for responsible businesses, and some of these companies provide supports to the EPIC participants in the form of workshops, company visits, mentoring and mock interviews. Wallace participated in the IT skills training with BT: “IT training offers a good idea of Office programmes, as well as tips on how to use advanced programs” and in a company visit: “During the EPIC Programme I had the opportunity to participate in an activity at Microsoft Headquarters, and to expand networking with people from different sectors of the company.” These supports give our participants the opportunity to learn about the hiring process and the culture of the company, get support with CV and interview tips from HR professionals and recruiters and expand their professional networks.
The recruitment agency Cpl provides mock interviews at the end of the training: “The mock interview is a good opportunity to put into practice everything that was taught during the six weeks of the course. The interview was held at the Cpl headquarters, with recruiters that make the process as real as possible. At the end of the interview we received feedback that is very useful for evaluating our performance.”
Wallace started a job in his area in April 2019 and this is his experience with EPIC:
“After a few months searching for jobs without much success, the EPIC Programme prepared me for job interviews, giving me emotional and psychological support. Yes. The course is very well structured, with good professionals, besides being totally free.”
Business in the Community Ireland specialises in providing advice and guidance to leading companies on corporate responsibility and sustainability and also works in education and employment. Regarding employment, BITCI runs programmes tackling issues on integration and social inclusion working with businesses, the government, and the non-profit sector. The EPIC Programme supports migrants to become economically independent and more socially integrated in Ireland. Participants develop job-seeking skills through pre-employment training, one-to-one support and work experience opportunities. Since its inception in 2008, over 3,200 people from 101 nationalities have engaged with the services. 67% of clients have secured employment or entered training or volunteering positions.