Banbridge Enterprise Centre welcomed all the Ambition to Employ projects partners to Banbridge, United Kingdom for the initial two-day meeting of the project. It was a highly productive meeting around a topic of very significant importance, not just in the United Kingdom but across Europe. Ciaran Cunningham – Managing Director of the company and all-round kick-ass leader was the Chair for the meeting ensuring everyone stayed awake and the meeting progressed as per the Agenda.

Ciaran went on to explain that even though more and more people are becoming self-employed, though, this does not mean that self-employment is fulfilling its potential to drive economic growth and job creation. Between 2007–12 only 3% of UK sole traders hired an employee and kept them. Lack of knowledge about the regulatory environment is a factor, but studies show that barriers are often perceived, and so hiring a first employee essentially requires sole traders to “cross a psychological threshold for which they are ill prepared.”, in addition “Advice and support services are fragmented”

To remedy this situation, Ambition to Employ will develop a new training model to enable self-employed individuals to hire their first employee. This requires teaching the practical, legal and financial aspects of employment and sustainable business growth, but also applying new insights into overcoming the psychological barriers and risks involved.

The project responds to the needs of three main target groups:

  1. SELF-EMPLOYED INDIVIDUALS with latent employment potential, who have progressed their business to the point of expansion. Their growth potential is hindered by apprehension as to the complexity and responsibility of becoming an employer.
  2. VET PROVIDERS offering entrepreneurship training and business coaching, notably local and regional enterprise development agencies, colleges and education institutions with business courses, private sector business advisors and consultancies etc.
  3. STAKEHOLDERS from the wider enterprise development and business VET community, who can benefit from improved knowledge about barriers to growth and innovative training approaches.