Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 17 April 2014

Airport plans to turn apprentices into high fliers

George Best Belfast City Airport boss Brian Ambrose is to become the Lord Sugar of the city after announcing a new apprenticeship scheme for young people.

Ten 'high fliers' slots will be available in 2013 in a range of roles including human resources, customer services, hospitality, catering and retail.

The scheme is supported by World Duty Free, Autogrill, WH Smith, House of Ireland, O'Brien's Sandwich Bar and Costa Coffee, all located in the facility.

The airport already employs around 1,500 people.

The placements will provide up to two years of work experience for young people between the ages of 16-24, supported by training workshops of advice and support in CV writing, job application writing and interview skills.

Cliodhna Kelly started her apprenticeship in November 2012 and is working towards an NVQ in Business Administration with Workforce Training. The apprentice programme will collaborate with Workforce, Swann Training and Paragon Training to deliver the scheme.

"On a daily basis I am responsible for anything from mail distribution to dealing with recruitment requests, maintenance of an online data base and helping with the induction of other work placement students," she said.

"The airport is such a fascinating place to work as there is so much happening both landside and airside. The staff have been amazing mentors and are keen to see me do well."

Mr Ambrose, himself a former apprentice, joined Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry, and Lord Mayor of Belfast Alderman Gavin Robinson – another former apprentice – to launch the scheme.

Figures from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment show some 22,000 young people unemployed in Northern Ireland, with the cost of youth unemployment set to top £1bn by 2016.

Minister Farry said that in this current economic climate, it is important to invest in the skills training of young people.

"This week, I announced a review of the apprenticeship and youth training programmes," he said. "My aim is to build upon and enhance existing strong provision, ensuring that Northern Ireland has a system of apprenticeship and youth training that is the 'gold standard'."