THE Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has announced that it will be taking the lead role in a unique careers evening in Ballymena.
Working closely with the Department of Justice, the Grand Lodge will host the ‘ Criminal Justice Careers Fair’ in the Des Allen Suite at the Ballymena Showgrounds on Tuesday, February 11, from 7pm.
Ballymena man Gary McAllister who is GOLI Youth Development Officer, said the event would be of great value to young people interested in learning about a career in criminal justice.
Commenting on the event, which is the latest in a number of such information evenings that the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland has organised throughout Northern Ireland, Mr McAllister said: “The event will be an opportunity for people, young and old, to explore potential career opportunities in various agencies across the Criminal Justice sector.
“Agencies expected to attend include the PSNI, Youth Justice Agency, NI Prison Service, Public Prosecution Service, Attorney General’s Office and Forensic Science NI.
“Criminal Justice is a wide-ranging field of employment with many excellent career paths and we are delighted to be able to offer this event.
“It is also important to remember that the PSNI recruitment campaign opens on the 4th February and closes on the 25th February, meaning this event will fall right in the middle of the recruitment campaign, giving attendees an excellent opportunity to get real, helpful advice on how to go about applying for the various roles within the PSNI.”
Mr McAllister added: “This event further shows the Loyal Orange Institution is fully vested in the development of our young people and ensuring they get every opportunity to explore and take up promising careers.
“It also shows that we are a major stakeholder in tackling the issue of underrepresentation of our community within the criminal justice sector and our willingness to work with other key stakeholders to address these issues and others which affect our society.”
The PSNI have confirmed they will be sending a range of representatives to take part in the event, highlighting that its latest recruitment campaign is due to begin in the coming days.
Assistant Chief Constable Mark Hamilton said: “As part of our ongoing engagement within local communities we are happy to take part in the Criminal Justice Careers Fair.
“We will have officers and staff representing a range of departments from within our organisation including the Police College, Scientific Support, Human Resources, Dog section and Armed Response Unit, they will be able to answer any questions or queries about our service.
“We will be launching a new recruitment campaign for student officers on 4th February and we welcome the opportunity to engage with all sections of the community who may be interested in joining the police.
“ For more information log on to joinpsni.co.uk where you will find everything you need to know about the application process.”
The Criminal Justice Careers Fair also has the support of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, who have provided the venue.
TUV councillor Matthew Armstrong commented: “The Criminal Justice sector offers some fantastic career prospects and opportunities for young people and I’m delighted that the Grand Orange Lodge of Ireland and the PSNI have saw fit to organise such an event here in Ballymena.
“This is a welcome event in the aftermath of what have been hammer blows to employment in this borough with the closures of Michelin, JTI and the recent restructuring of Wrightbus, among others, and events like this serve to provide opportunities for people, young and old, to explore alternative career paths.
I’m delighted that Mid and East Antrim Borough Council have saw fit to support this event and would commend Grand Lodge for bringing such an event together.”