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Ards and North Down Labour Market Partnership

Ards and North Down Labour Market Partnership (LMP) work collaboratively with statutory, voluntary and community organisations to assess need and improve local labour market conditions.

LMP logoArds and North Down established its Labour Market Partnership in August 2021 when the Department for Communities (one of the Department’s within the Northern Ireland Executive) made funding available for the establishment of Labour Market Partnerships (LMP) within each of the 11 Councils in Northern Ireland.

The aim of Ards and North Down Labour Market Partnership is to help improve employability outcomes and labour market conditions locally.  The LMP will work through co-ordinated, collaborative, multi-agency partnerships to meet their regional objectives whilst being flexible to meet the needs presented by localised conditions and helping to connect employers with employees. 

Following on from the success of the 2021- 2023 Action Plan. The Action Plan for 2023-2024 was revised and developed with the LMP Partnership taking into consideration the scoping exercise. The updated Action Plan seeks to build on local experience, knowledge of providers and expertise, and marry this with opportunities to address key areas of need within the AND Council area. It also builds on the achievements of last year’s Action Plan, and the lessons learned.

The following four themes have been identified as local priorities for 2023-24:

  • Theme 1 - Economic inactivity
  • Theme 2 – Youth unemployment
  • Theme 3 – Disability
  • Theme 4 – Skill and labour supply

If you would like more information on the work of the Ards and North Down Labour Market Partnership please email:

Click here to read the Ards and North Down LMP Action Plan 2021-23.

Click here to read the Ards and North Down LMP Action Plan 2023-24.

Click here to read the Ards and North Down LMP Annual Report 2022-23.

Academies Now Open

The following academies are now open:

Transport Academy

This academy will fund and facilitate full training and employability support to enable 54 participants to gain a HGV licence and 12 participants to gain a PSV/Coach licence. 

Participation is open to all residents in the Borough of Ards and North Down who are the suitable age for HGV training or PSV/Coach Driving Training, hold a full and valid UK driving licence for a minimum of 2 years, with no more than 3 penalty points, and who may be:

  • Unemployed but actively seeking employment, under-employed or at risk of redundancy.

and reside in Ards and North Down (AND).

  • Seeking career development through upskilling or reskilling.
  • Interested in a career in the transport and logistics industry and can honour the time commitments required to complete all required aspects of the training.
  • Be willing to undergo a medical examination.

Should you be interested in applying please complete the form below:


Or contact the Labour Market Partnership Team on 0300 013 3333 Ext 40958 or email:

Read the Transport Academy Flyer here

LMP HGV Academy

Academy for People with Disabilities

This academy will see 33 participants who self-declare as having a registered disability or long-term health condition; recruited, mentored and trained to meet identified skills gaps in the Borough. As part of this Academy, employer support and training will also be available.

Participants must meet the eligibility criteria:    

  • Have verifiable addresses within Ards and North Down Borough Council Area.  
  • Self-declare as someone that has a registered disability and/or long-term health condition.   
  • Be unemployed but actively seeking employment, underemployed or at risk of redundancy.   
  • Be seeking to develop a career and show a willingness to participate in the academy.

Should you be interested in applying please contact the Labour Market Partnership Team on 0300 013 3333 Ext 40958 or email:

Employer Led Upskilling Programme (Small Grant Scheme) - reopening 8th December

The aim of Ards and North Down Labour Market Partnership is to help improve employability outcomes and labour market conditions locally. The Labour Market Partnership is offering a Small Grant Scheme to local businesses in the Ards and North Down Council area to support industry-related training.      
The scheme is offering a small grant of up to a maximum of £500 per employee for a maximum of 4 employees per business, to businesses based in Ards and North Down Borough who are interested in providing a workplace training initiative for their employees.  The small grant scheme is available for businesses that employ one or more employee(s) excluding the business owner, with the aim of improving employment opportunities by offering entry level positions or upskilling opportunities as a result of training.  
This programme is not available to the public sector.

Why should you take part?

  • Obtain training for your staff/employees at no cost or lower cost* to your business.
  • Offer training opportunities to your staff and employees to upskill and enhance their employability.
  • Provide Industry Specific Training at a time and date that suits your business.
  • Support the growth of your business by investing in your staff.
  • Provide training for your staff to progress in their career and therefore create entry level positions.

*Subject to the terms and conditions of this initiative i.e. £500 per employee for a maximum of 4 employees per business. 

Criteria for funding – Please read Carefully

Grants will only be offered on a first come, first served basis to companies who meet the criteria with preference given to those businesses that have not previously been in receipt of a grant through the Industry Related Training Bursary Small Grant Scheme. Businesses should employ one or more employee and will apply on behalf of employees. Owners cannot avail of the training grants.

  1. Training should be easily obtained by the individual or employer on receipt of a letter of offer for funding.
  2. Applicants shall agree to source a local provider from the Ards and North Down Borough Council area. Regional charitable providers can also be used.  Should provision not be available in the Ards and North Down area a suitable provider could be sourced from outside the borough council area.
  3. Two like for like quotes must be provided for each training initiative.  If a local provider cannot be sourced, please provide quotes from companies outside of the borough. Emails from training providers and screen shots from relevant training providers' websites are acceptable and should be provided when submitting your application. Failure to provide the required number of quotes will result in the application being rejected.
  4. Evidence of quotes should be sent to at the time of submitting your application. Please include business name in the subject of the email.
  5. Applicants shall agree to complete an evaluation form on successful completion of scheme and be prepared to report on programme outcomes 12 weeks post completion.
  6. Applicants must submit receipts for payment on completion of the initiative via a Grant Claim Form. Payments will be made retrospectively.
  7. Participants must be employed in the Ards and North Down Borough Council area.
  8. Applicants must provide full details of proposed initiative and include ALL costs.
  9. Applicants must include VAT registration details.  Payments to those who are VAT registered will be made exclusive of VAT, if not VAT registered payments will be made inclusive of VAT.
  10. One Application Form may be made per business / owner / employer including subsidiaries of the business and can propose more than one employee but not more than 4.
  11. The total cost does not exceed £500 per participant.
  12. If you have received current funding from the scheme that opened on 10 November and closed on 27 November, you are ineligible to apply again.

The following will not be considered for funding: membership fees, beauty treatments, teambuilding events, taxi, transport costs or other costs not associated with this grant and deemed ineligible by the Labour Market Partnership.

8 December 2023 - Employer Led Upskilling Programme will open for applications.

Application Forms and supporting evidence submitted by 4pm on Friday 5 January 2024.
Any application or evidence submitted after the deadline will not be considered by the LMP and the application will be rejected. Due to funding limits, grants will only be offered (on a first come, first served basis) to companies who meet the criteria and that have not been in receipt of a bursary from the Industry Related Training Bursary Scheme previously.

Letter of Offer issued following assessment- week commencing 8 January 2024.
Successful applicants will be issued a Letter of Offer and a supplier details form.
Acceptance form and supplier form need to be returned promptly to speed up your payment process once the training has been completed and costs submitted for consideration. Successful applicants will be required to complete a Subsidy Control Form that must be returned with required documentation.  

Please do NOT incur expenses for activities until you have received written approval that funding has been granted to your organisation as it will be deemed ineligible.
Friday 1 March 2024 – The Grant Claim Form and all invoices and evidence in relation to the approved and completed initiatives should be returned as soon as possible upon completion of the activity, and no later than this date, accompanied by receipts, invoices and bank statements for the full amount claimed.
We anticipate to agree payment for your financial support payment within 14 days, subject to all relevant financial evidence having been provided.
Should the invoice(s) exceed the amount agreed in the Letter of Offer, only the amount stipulated in the Letter of Offer will be paid, subject to satisfactory assessment of the said invoice(s). Late invoices received after the closing date will not be paid.

For Queries Contact:

The online application form will be available here when the scheme reopens on 8th December 2023.

Previous Labour Market Partnership Projects (Now Closed)

Job Fair Roadshows

Are you looking for help to get into employment?

Come along to our FREE January Mini Jobs Roadshows and receive support with:

  • Interview skills and techniques
  • CV Building
  • Build confidence in approaching employers
  • Meet and chat to support agencies and local employers

Where and when?

  • Comber Adult Learning Centre, Monday 9 Jan 2023, 1.30pm–3.30pm
  • Alderman George Green Community Centre, Bangor, Thursday 12 Jan 2023, 10am–12noon
  • Donaghadee Community CentreTuesday 17 Jan 2023, 10.30am–12.30pm
  • Kircubbin Community CentreThursday 19 Jan 2023, 12.30pm–2.30pm

For more information contact us at

LMP Roadshows


Enterprise Skills Academy

Enterprise skills academy

Health and Social Care Academy

healthcare flyer 1

Healthcare flyer 2

healthcare fluyer 3

healthcare flyer 4

Academy for People with Disabilities

NOW academies

Leadership Academy

Leadership flyer 1

leadership 2 flyer

Read the LMP Annual Report 2022-23 here

The Labour Market Partnership have produced informative videos to highlight sectors and employers in the Ards and North Down Borough and feature job roles and routes to employment. View the videos below:

Construction Management: JSW Developments

Design Engineering: Redburn Design

Agri-Food: Mash Direct

Product Development: See.Sense

Finance: Portaferry Credit Union

Creative Arts: Seacourt Print Workshop

Administration: Mango Direct Marketing

Retail: Fayre by Corries

Creative Arts: Yellow Moon

Computer Infrastructure: Simply NUC

Health and Social Care: Positive Futures

Hospitality: The Old Inn

Find out more

To find out more about Ards and North Down Labour Market Partnership please get in touch.