Belfast Telegraph

Jobs minister signals funding cut to apprenticeship schemes for over-25s

By Margaret Canning

Employment Minister Dr Stephen Farry has announced an end to funding for some apprenticeships for the over-25s after a review of adult training.

A Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) spokeswoman said 'adult apprenticeship' funding would instead be targeted at "economically important" sectors: IT, financial services, food and drink, advanced engineering, life and health sciences and creative industries.

Previously it has been available for all skills areas from childcare to plumbing and heating.

The spokeswoman said the change would "ensure support is targeted at meeting the skills needs of jobs in sectors with the potential to expand, to innovate and to export".

But she added: "Those already on adult apprenticeships in other areas will of course be funded until completion of their current level of apprenticeship."

The spokeswoman said adult apprenticeships "were not the only route to acquiring skills".

"The research shows more flexible provision is required for some jobs which can be met through single qualifications such as Essential Skills or targeted vocational courses."

The Belfast Telegraph is currently running a campaign, 100 jobs in 100 days, to encourage companies to take on apprentices.

SDLP Lisburn councillor Brian Heading said: "With unemployment at its highest level in decades, government should be providing more schemes to re-integrate people into the labour market rather than cutting schemes which re-skill people to have a greater chance of employment."

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