Everyone we work with receives a free, impartial, culturally-competent, one-to-one service tailored to their individual needs.


    We work at your pace and support you on your pathway to employment with high quality information advice and guidance, training, mentoring, job search, interview skills plus ongoing support when you start your new job.


    Our professional, knowledgeable staff use their skills and understanding to help you identify your career choices and achieve your employment goals.


    We help you build your confidence and interpersonal skills promoting your success at job interviews.


    When you need additional specialist support we help you access services that will help you address personal “road blocks” e.g. addictions or health issues that are barriers to your employment journey.

    Our Vision

    Everyone in Northern Ireland will have access to sustainable employment with opportunities for progression.

    Our Mission

    We challenge perceptions of employment and unemployment by providing high quality information, advice, and guidance and employment solutions to:

    • People who experience labour market disadvantage.
    • Employers
    • Policy makers and practitioners


    Marie Curie

    Our Core Values

    Giving our best to those who use our services

    We deliver customer-focused, high quality and impartial services, delivered by highly skilled and professional staff.

    Our Commitment to Equality

    We are committed to cultural competence in all our work and provide equality of opportunity for all who use our services.

    Partnership and collaboration

    We work in partnership with others in an approach of openness, transparency and putting the customer first, sharing best practice information and knowledge.

    Social Value and sustainability

    By considering social value in the decisions we take as a business, including the way we operate, employ staff, engage with communities and procure products and services, we can help grow a more sustainable, resilient and inclusive society. We are committed to reducing our carbon emissions including switching to low carbon alternatives.

    Learning and innovation

    We are committed to developing innovative and creative services and solutions in response to current and emerging need.

    Continuous Improvement and Development

    We seek out, support and implement changes to make our services and programmes provide better quality and more cost-effective.


    Leonardo da Vinci

    Our Objectives

    Ensure Service Availability

    We will ensure that the delivery of our services are completed in tandem with the organisational business plan and by reviewing and developing the linkages across our community networks, ensuring that projects/information events/road shows are actively advertised in local community areas and in the statutory organisations. By increasing the knowledge of the GEMS brand and within this, specific project brands, we will increase the knowledge and understanding of what we deliver as a service provider.

    Provide for employability need

    A need to be responsive to the changing labour markets is something that GEMS NI will focus on. By adapting the information that is made available to us by our clients/public information/programme development and employers and by using our extensive knowledge and experience we will strive to not only follow the trends for supporting employability needs, we will set the trends that can be followed to ensure the success of our operational plan. Linkages with employers remains key to the success of our projects, however an emphasis on community engagement, youth engagement, older people engagement and skills development will integrate the overall service into the rapidly changing needs of the labour market. A focus on linking and collaboration with the Department for the Economy, Department for Communities and other statutory bodies and also a focus on ensuring that project targets are achieved will remain integral to the delivery of our employability services.

    Support sustainable employment

    A focus on mentoring to ensure clients are work ready and the development of linkages across the general employers’ network will allow us to work with clients who can view sustainable employment as an achievable goal. Development of necessary training and pre-employment courses in line with employers needs will also allow us to focus on sustaining employment beyond the target timeframes. It is important that the measure of employment is meeting both the programme and client requirements and by ensuring a focus on the needs of employers in our local areas we can stabilise this element of our service. With the addition of a SME engagement post we will aim to generate more knowledge of the services we provide and also produce linkages for growing employers to avail of services that they would not necessarily look into.

    Ensure Programme impact

    We will offer a combination of job-search support and participation in training and development opportunities; using “mixed” strategies that allow our Guidance Practitioners to present training or similar options to clients along with possible opportunities for sustainable employment, and to select the most effective instruments for each client.

    How We Will Achieve Our Objectives

    Partnering to maximise reach

    We will work with partners that can share and bring complementary experience of connecting unemployed people with diverse local labour markets. Where we are lead partner, we will place priority on a supply chain that is a source of secure, technically competent, innovative and dynamic leaders that work collaboratively with us to deliver our contract obligations. Where we are a delivery partner or sub-contractor, we will deliver to our organisational strengths in engaging with and progressing unemployed people towards sustainable employment.

    Providing an Integrated Client Services Portfolio

    Our clients will receive a ‘seamless’ service which will be responsive to their needs at point of entry and as they progress.This will include a minimum service guarantee to all our clients and a clear and unequivocal commitment from us that we will maximise our knowledge and organisational resources to support their progression towards sustainable employment.

    By helping shape policy and practice

    We will develop our community of practice through both our day to day sharing of knowledge and peer supervision activities and the activities of the Belfast City Council Employability Stakeholders Network. we will also actively participate in external working groups and contribute to consultations and enquiries. We will also welcome researchers and visitors who are interested in learning about our work.

    Leveraging supporters and volunteers to help drive change

    We will work to identify and engage key influencers with a “give to get” approach

    Identifying needs

    We will consolidate our community engagement strategy and utilise our internal and external stakeholder networking to identify current and emerging opportunities and mechanisms to respond to need.

    Providing inspirational leadership

    Our Chief Executive and Senior Management Team are role models; we will empower and enable our staff by creating an environment that encourages them to grow and develop and to share responsibility for their own learning and development.

    Maintain a performance-driven culture

    We will use quality management measurement tools which support our performance management and business improvement objectives and will integrate these across our programmes, projects and services.

    Equip our staff and volunteers with the tools they need to deliver

    Our organisational training and development plan establishes the balance between business and staff/volunteer development and sets out our key priorities and our objectives as a learning organisation.

    Promote and maintain operational excellence

    We will strive for continuous improvement and development through regularly collating qualitative and quantitative data and information from our service-users, partners and other key stakeholders which will help us to evaluate our current services and shape our future developments.

    Diversifying our revenue streams

    We will create opportunities to deliver a vibrant and sustainable funding model to support our service delivery objectives and respond to client need.


    Albert Einstein

    About GEMS NI

    Our History

    In the mid-1990’s Belfast was experiencing economic growth as a result of being a safer place to live and work. The Gasworks and Laganside major urban regeneration sites were bringing new business to the city and new opportunities for employment and enterprise.

    The impetus for GEMS came during early 1998 from Belfast City Council, who recognised that local people living in the deprived communities and neighbourhoods around all this major regeneration would be disadvantaged in the competition for jobs.

    Belfast City Council took the lead in developing the multi-stakeholder collaborative network and funding package which led to the launch of the Gasworks Employment Matching Service (GEMS) as a 3-year pilot project in January 2002

    Developing our Service offer

    Since our launch in January 2002, we have worked with over 20,000 people who experience labour market disadvantage and helped over 9000 people to move from long term unemployment, economic inactivity and worklessness to employment. The greatest challenge for GEMS NI is not just to be good at what we do, but to be able to fully exploit the labour market opportunities which emerge in a continually changing environment.


    Why we are successful

    GEMS NI is successful because we capitalise on our market position through the development of innovative new products and services to meet the needs of a changing market. Our success in working with long-term unemployed people is founded on the one-to-one client /mentor relationship supported by the dynamic platform of employer engagement and extensive knowledge network. All our clients all receive an individual service based a comprehensive employability assessment and the development and implementation of their person employability action plan.

    What we have learned over the last 21 years

    Unemployment is everyone’s business! No one organisation has all the answers. This is why we work on the basis of building relationships of trusts with individuals, neighbourhoods and communities supporting and creating social value and building community capacity.

    Partnerships and collaboration

    We have strong delivery partnerships with organisations that share our values, ethics and practice principles – these help us to extend our reach and develop our complementary expertise and areas of particular practice. We also work within collaborative networks across Belfast and beyond to ensure we understand the labour market and respond to emerging trends and opportunities.

    Providing culturally competent Information, Advice and Guidance Services

    New clients engaging with our service do not always have English as their first language –many have the same issues and vulnerabilities and barriers as our clients who have resided here much longer and compounded by the language barrier, no or limited knowledge of the local labour market and no or limited social support networks. For these clients the labour market disadvantage they experience is often compounded by restrictions regarding employment, poverty, homelessness, and access to services. Racism and hate crime also features in the lived experience of newcomer families. We have extensive experience in providing culturally competent services that support, encourage and enable people from all backgrounds, cultures and ethnicities to develop their employability and access to jobs and training opportunities.

    Language for work

    We developed our Language for Work programme which focuses on English language needed for the workplace in Northern Ireland – Language for Work helps non-native speakers of English to build their confidence in speaking, reading, writing and understanding English using learning activities that are directly linked to living and working in Northern Ireland.

    Meaningful work with employers

    Our work with employers, which is about building relationships, understanding their needs, and using our expertise to equip people to meet employers skills needs and prepare for employment is a critical component of our work. We respond effectively to employers needs by presenting them with a ‘value proposition’ linked to their business needs and our ability to deliver the right people for the right job at the right time. ]]


    Jay Blades


    You can call in to our new offices at
    34 Shaftesbury Square
    BT2 7DB


    You can email us at
    Or find us on Facebook
    GEMS NI,
    Belfast Works


    You can call us on
    028 9033 2313


    GEMS Northern Ireland Limited is a Company Limited by Guarantee Registration Number: NI059280 and a Charity Registered with the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland Registration Number: 101125.

    GEMS Northern Ireland Limited is registered with the ICO Registration Number: Z9462033