As the construction industry continues to struggle, employment opportunities for skilled labourers remain limited and many skilled workers are getting left behind, a North Belfast social development trust has warned. But The Ashton Community Trust, who help find work for the long-term unemployed, say there are different ways for skilled workers who have found themselves out of work to get back in to a meaningful career.

And one of those is a new project providing training opportunities to work on off-shore engineering and construction operations, where workers can earn over £25,000 a year with opportunities for career progression.

The Duncairn Gardens-based trust have teamed up with recruitment agency Copius Resources, to look for unemployed scaffolders, pipefitters, welders, boiler makers, sheet metal workers and more to come to them to see if they can take up the opportunity.

“There are a lot of qualified tradesman in North Belfast but what we are finding is that good tradesmen are being left behind,” said Mary Loughran from the Trust.

“They are qualified plumbers and labourers and everyone thinks that because they are qualified they will get a job but the way the market is at the minute they may as well be long-term unemployed.

Andy Watson, Business Development Onshore and Offshore with Copius, said once fully trained and in employment on an off-shore rig salaries can go from £25,000 per year and rise steadily.

“If we get people trained there is employment out there,” he said.

“If people come in to the Ashton Community Trust we will look at their CVs and if they have the skills we will basically be up-skilling them.”

Melanie Menary, Co-ordinator with the Ashton Communty Trust, said they know there are skilled workers in North Belfast who may not realise the opportunities that are available.

“We just need to reach out and say ‘where are you and how can we help?’” If anyone thinks they might fit the bill I would encourage them to contact us see if we can get them on the road to offshore employment and start to get jobs and get morale back into the community.”