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North Antrim MP Ian Paisley and The Department for Social Development Minister Mervyn Storey MLA this week co-hosted a Jobs Fair in the Joey Dunlop Leisure Centre in Ballymoney.
The event, held on Thursday, had over 35 businesses and other exhibitors in attendance, all of whom were either directly promoting employment opportunities within their organisation or promoting initiatives to assist young people in finding employment.
Mr Storey explained “We are absolutely delighted at the response we received from local businesses when we approached them about the fair. No fewer than 24 of the participating businesses are actively recruiting for specific posts within their organisation here today.
For the last three months unemployment in North Antrim has reached its lowest point (5%) since before the last General Election in 2010, well below the Northern Ireland average of (6.3%).
Mr Paisley explained “The businesses and exhibitors at today’s fair have a combined total of over 800 potential job opportunities available to our young people. If those 800 positions were filled that would push this constituency’s unemployment levels below 4% and make it one of the lowest in the UK. The bus loads of school people that have been arriving all day highlights the important role that events like today’s provide and we are very eager to try and mirror this fair in our other towns such as Ballymena and Ballycastle.”
Ian Paisley MP questioned the Secretary of State for Education this week about how A-level and O-level qualifications will be treated with regards to progression into institutions of further and higher education throughout mainland UK. The North Antrim MP invited Michael Gove MP to Northern Ireland to meet with educationists to assure them directly that Northern Ireland qualifications will be in no way inferior to those of the rest of the United Kingdom when entered in to the selection process for continued study. Mr Gove gladly accepted the invitation and commented “It is vital that we reassure students and teachers in Northern Ireland that the qualifications they sit will be valued and access to universities in the rest of the United Kingdom will be upheld.”
Mr Paisley concluded “This is a very positive response from the Education Secretary and I will propose some dates to him in the immediate future for a visit to give him the chance to come in to some of our schools.”
“Northern Ireland has an outstanding education system and any potential hindrance beyond our young people’s control that could block their continued path to success needs to be eliminated without hesitation. I look forward to welcoming Mr Gove to Northern Ireland very soon.”
North Antrim MP Ian Paisley and Olympic hero Jonny Brownlee welcomed children from schools from around the country to the 100th Tata Kids of Steel Triathlon at the Terrace Pavilion of the Houses of Parliament today.
In the first triathlon event ever to take place in the Houses of Parliament, kids from around the country as well as many others from around the country swam, cycled and ran to help Tata Steel towards their target of completing an Olympic-length triathlon in an hour and a half. Olympic bronze-medal triathlete Jonny Brownlee and Paralympian Lauren Steadman attended the event, providing much appreciated training tips and advice for the junior triathletes.
The success of Team GB triathletes at the London 2012 Olympic Games was a massive boost to the sport of triathlon in the UK, inspiring the next generation of triathletes to be more involved and active in the sport than ever before. Tata Steel and the British Triathlon Foundation, the sport’s charitable arm, collectively aim to introduce youngsters to the sport and encourage them to take it up.
Mr Paisley said: “The work TATA Steel and the British Triathlon Federation have been doing to promote a healthy lifestyle for young people has been invaluable so I hope they can build on the work they have already done. From a Northern Ireland perspective I am delighted to welcome such a major employer in Co. Antrim to the Parliamentary Terrace for this wonderful event.”
Zara Hyde Peters OBE, CEO of British Triathlon Federation and Trustee of the British Triathlon Foundation Trust, added: “We’re delighted to continue to work alongside Tata Steel in this partnership, which has been a big success in our seven-year relationship, benefiting both UK children and the development of our sport.
“The series has been the catalyst for the creation of our charitable arm, the British Triathlon Foundation, which was set up to help us inspire a generation.”
Sytske Seyffert, Director of Corporate Communications & Public Affairs at Tata Steel, said: “2013 has been the seventh year we have worked alongside the British Triathlon Federation to organise Tata Kids of Steel™ and we are delighted to be able to celebrate the series in Parliament with this 100th event. Nearly 60,000 children have experienced triathlon since the series launched in 2007. Our events enable children to have a fantastic day out while actively participating in sport. Many of our employees volunteer at the events, which help us to strengthen the long-term partnerships we have with our communities.”
Tata Kids of Steel is a children’s triathlon series organised by British Triathlon in partnership with Tata Steel, with the aims of encouraging children across the country to have a fun, positive experience of sport and of inspiring them to adopt a healthier lifestyle through sport and exercise.
This year’s Tata Kids of Steel series has seen more than 8,000 youngsters take up the challenge to each swim, cycle and run part of the distance between London and the next Olympic host city Rio de Janeiro, our way of inspiring a generation to take up sport and to help in securing the 2012 Olympic legacy.
North Antrim MP Ian Paisley met with children and staff from Ballee Primary School last week during their school trip to the Giant’s Causeway. Mr Paisley commented “We are so fortunate to have such a wonderful area of natural beauty such as the Causeway right here on our doorstep. Its great to see children as young as this coming and enjoying all the scenery that this special part of our coastline has to offer.”