Strong network between businesses and NGOs supports migrants

EAEA GRUNDTVIG AWARD 2017. The EPIC programme uses its wide networks of businesses and NGOs to help migrants integrate into the Irish society.

The EPIC programme works to combat discrimination in the labour market and to promote equal opportunities by supporting vulnerable migrants increase their employability and to find employment, and so increase their participation in the Irish society.

“One of the most pressing societal issues in Ireland is the continued unemployment rates for marginalised people. Integration and employment of migrants is at the heart of the EPIC programme,” says Breda Hegarty from the programme.

To gain its objectives the programme offers a variety of courses for migrants. The project includes 14 EPIC programmes per year catering approximately 220 learners, all of whom receive a six-week classroom based training.

As the organization believes in a learner-centred approach to training, all migrants benefit from one-to-one guidance sessions with an assigned Training and Employment Officer as well as sessions with a Support Officer, who is available to help with issues not related to finding employment or training.

“EPIC is tailored to meet the needs of migrants including refugees. We carry out pre-surveys and post surveys with clients to identify their needs.”

Mutual learning

The wide range of partnerships with businesses, such as for example Accenture, Workday, Google, Indeed or E-bay, ensure the learners the possibility to attend IT skills trainings, mock interviews, trainings on writing techniques for CVs and cover letters, workplace visit and placements.

Several NGOs deliver workshops on Irish society and services, for example on access to health, social welfare and understanding the political system.

“Quite importantly, EPIC encourages equality and non-discrimination practices also among the companies and their HR staff,” Breda Hegarty underlines.

The programme has been running since 2008 and almost 4,500 migrants have been referred to EPIC. Since then 67% of the learners have entered employment, training or volunteering. 79 clients have participated in work placement, 54 of whom have secured employment afterwards.

“The participants leave the programme more confident in their skills, with increased motivation and resilience,” Breda Hegarty concludes.

The project: EPIC Programme
  • Award category: National projects (Ireland)
  • Learner target group: Refugees and people with an immigrant background
  • Innovative practice: Wide networks of businesses and NGOs

Project coordinator


The article series shares good practices on engaging new learners by introducing the nominees of the EAEA Grundtvig Award 2017.

Text: Lou-Andréa PinsonPhotos: EPIC

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