Almost 200 extra young Northern Ireland people will be offered their first step into the world of work on apprenticeships, as employers here say finding workers with the right skills is becoming an increasing struggle.
The Apprenticeship NI programme will be delivered by employment specialist Seetec and will create new work placement opportunities for a further 180 young people aged between 16 and 24, focussing on sectors such as social media, digital marketing, aviation, and logistics.
The programme is part-funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund and the Department for the Economy.
Rob White, Seetec sales director, said: "When we speak to Northern Irish business leaders, they talk about a shortage of candidates with skills like teamwork, planning, organisation, problem solving, and communication. We're hearing that lack of work experience is a much more frequent obstacle for young jobseekers than qualifications.
"The scheme gives employers the opportunity to develop talent in a way that suits their business. Apprentices have fresh ideas, unique perspectives, and the latest skills."
In 2016, the scheme facilitated almost 7,500 apprenticeships.