Shadow Secretary of State Owen Paterson has called for Northern Ireland to reduce its dependency on the public sector following a meeting with the Learning and Skills Development Agency in Belfast.
The core remit of LSDA NI, which is part of the Learning and Skills Network (LSN), is supporting improvement and professional development in the further education sector.
Following his meeting with Trevor Carson, director of the LSDA, Mr Paterson said: “It is vital that Northern Ireland moves away from its dependency on the public sector.
“We need to make Northern Ireland more entrepreneurial and do everything possible to attract more private sector investment. An essential part of this jigsaw is the role that Learning and Skills can play, through, for example, upskilling the workforce.
“LSDA NI is making significant progress in this area through its Lecturers into Industry scheme, which establishes links between the colleges and industry.
“LSDA and its parent organisation LSN are also striving to improve the skills of the workforce through Inventing the Future, a bespoke leadership and management programme for the FE sector.”
Mr Carson welcomed the opportunity to meet with Mr Paterson to discuss its improvement agenda.
He said: “Today I have highlighted the work that we do in supporting the Essential Skills strategy, the role that we play at the interface between colleges and schools and how we manage the successful Lecturers into Industry initiative and Inventing the Future programme. We are aware that there is much to achieve in making the economy of Northern Ireland self-sufficient but we hope that through improving access to learning and skills we can contribute to making Northern Ireland a more entrepreneurial place.”