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BT Work Ready Programme helping local young people find jobs in Derry

Press release   •   Jan 22, 2018 12:36 GMT

22-year-old Shane Sharkey, who found full-time employment in Derry after signing up for the BT Work Ready programme, with BT Work Ready Coach Natalie Fleming.

BT’s latest Work Ready programme is offering free work placements to help young people in Derry~Londonderry get ‘work ready’ and prepared for their future careers.

The three week course, combining hands-on work experience with coaching and training,

is open to anyone aged 16 to 24, not currently in education, employment or training.

The first week of the programme is mainly office-based at the BT City Exchange and focuses on developing practical skills, such as time management, customer service and computing skills. This is followed by a week ‘on the job’ with work placements in different sections of BT. Finally, participants experience mock interviews and get help creating a stand-out CV and developing an individual plan of the next steps to find employment or return to education. Attendees are given a certificate showing their achievements to demonstrate their commitment to prospective employers.

Natalie Fleming is one of two BT Work Ready Coaches who work in the city and liaise with community groups to promote the programme amongst local young people.She says:“People don’t realise just how deflated young people in this city can feel, applying for job after job, only to be told that they don’t have any experience.

“That’s where BT comes in.The Work Ready Programme isn’t just another course – it’s real work placements.And, when the three weeks are up, we’re not finished with the participants.We keep in contact and make sure they know about job opportunities in BT and elsewhere in the city.”

22-year-old Shane Sharkey, who’s originally from Gweedore in Donegal, has been working for NI Direct at the City Exchange as a Customer Service Representative since September 2016.It was the first job he applied for after finishing the BT Work Ready programme.

He says:“I’d just completed a course in Performing Arts and realised there were no job openings here for me.I wasn’t in a position to move to London or Dublin and I really didn’t want to have to move back home, where I knew I wouldn’t get a job.I got very depressed and felt isolated.Worrying about how to pay the bills took a very negative toll on my life.

“Luckily for me, my partner had taken part in BT Work Ready and had found paid work within weeks.He persuaded me to sign up and I’ve never looked back.

“Because I’ve been low and dealt with depression, I appreciate the role work has in my life.It gets me out of the house. In fact, it’s brought me out of myself.I’m not the quiet and reserved person I was when I started my job over a year ago.”

Over the last three years, Natalie says that she has signed up 37 young people to BT Work Ready and that 29 of them have successfully found employment, or returned to education:

“I love it when the young people thank me for the experience, but the best part of my job is seeing them grow in confidence after all the knock-backs that they’ve had.

“At the start, people say it’s daunting walking into the City Exchange because it’s an imposing building but, by the end, they’re walking in every day, applying for jobs and going to interviews.”

Garret Kavanagh, Acting Managing Director of NI Networks, says: “BT work placements give local young people the opportunity to experience the working day and gain invaluable insight of what’s expected in the workplace.

“I’m proud to see so many people in BT volunteer and get involved, passing on valuable insights which will help these young people develop the skills they need to find employment.

“There will be more opportunities to join a local work placement and I’d encourage anyone thinking about taking part to register your interest and make sure you don’t miss out.”

The next BT work placements in Derry~Londonderry start on 29 January and again in early March.To find out more or to apply visit



For media enquiries, please contact:

Rosy Billingham, PR, Public Affairs & Corporate Relations Manager with BT in Northern Ireland

Tel 028 9021 4174 - Mobile 07968 904635 - Email