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'Tiny progress' of NI apprentice support scheme sparks criticism

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Initiative: Minister Dodds meets apprentice engineering tutor Michael Gargan and student Joshua Church at Impact Training in Belfast at the launch of the scheme last September

Initiative: Minister Dodds meets apprentice engineering tutor Michael Gargan and student Joshua Church at Impact Training in Belfast at the launch of the scheme last September

Initiative: Minister Dodds meets apprentice engineering tutor Michael Gargan and student Joshua Church at Impact Training in Belfast at the launch of the scheme last September

A multi-million pound scheme set up to support apprentices during the Covid pandemic has been slammed for making "tiny progress" after it emerged less than 200 applications have been submitted - with just 32 payments processed.

Back in September, Economy Minister Diane Dodds announced she had secured an additional £17.2m from the Executive to bolster Northern Ireland's efforts tackling the effects of the pandemic, which was supplemented with additional funds from the department.

The Department for the Economy's Apprenticeship Recovery Package is made up of three initiatives, which benefitted from an extensive advertising campaign across TV, print, radio and social media.


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