Belfast Telegraph

A constantly learning workforce is vital to economic development

Having the right skills in the workforce – especially among the young – can transform the economy and raise productivity, Employment Minister Stephen Farry has said.

The minister has launched a new 'skills to succeed' advertising campaign to highlight the role of skills in supporting both individuals and employers.

It will highlight strands such as the Youth Employment Scheme, the Apprenticeships NI scheme and the Bring IT On initiative to encourage people to consider an IT career.

The minister said: "Skills are widely accepted as the key raw material in the modern knowledge-based economy and are a key driver in how we achieve our economic goals. Our main asset is our people. It is on the basis of their talents and skills that we will transform our economy, increase employment, raise productivity and compete globally."

He said the campaign was aimed at raising the whole workforce's skills level to ensure people could achieve their full potential.

"For employers, my department's Skills Solutions Service can offer advice and guidance on the range of skills and training programmes available to support local companies," he added.

The new skills campaign follows the launch of DEL's review of apprenticeships interim report, and a 12-week consultation on the future of apprenticeship training and provision in Northern Ireland.

The report contains 32 proposals – including that apprenticeships should be available at any level of study and experience, including doctoral level.

It also proposes that incentives should be considered to support employers who take on apprentices.

The department has also launched its Apprentice of the Year Awards, which recognise the achievements of apprentices, as well as employers and training suppliers.

Belfast Telegraph