Belfast Telegraph

Calling on adult learners to avail of free Essential Skills training

Stormont Executive press release - Department for Employment and Learning

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry today reinforced the benefits of Essential Skills for adults as we prepare for the new term in September.

With the arrival of the new school term, this time of year can be extremely difficult for parents who may struggle with numeracy, literacy and ICT and fear the challenges of helping with homework in the year ahead.

Calling on adults to take full advantage of his Department’s free Essential Skills courses the Minister said: “The Essential Skills classes offer a second chance for people to fulfil their potential with a suite of qualifications in literacy, numeracy and ICT. Since the start of the Essential Skills strategy 96,000 have participated, and improved their skills, gaining 192,974 qualifications.

“Gaining Essential Skills can help not only with day-to-day family life and everyday tasks but also with future career choices. The qualifications have proven to open up doors to various opportunities and helps people fulfil their potential, build confidence, achieve their goals, up-skill the workforce and contribute to a stronger local economy.”

Essential Skills Learner of the Year winner, Paul McDermott from Campsie in Co Londonderry said: “I had a very positive experience at College and gained new skills in ICT, Literacy and Numeracy as well as continuing my studies for a Diploma in Business. My confidence has also improved and I am more aware of how my skills and abilities can be used to enhance my future career options.”

The Minister concluded by saying: “I also welcome the increasing number of employers who are offering Essential Skills training in the workplace. Businesses now realise that in order to succeed, they need to invest in their workforce to ensure that it is innovative, enterprising and skilled.”

To find out more about Essential Skills courses in your area, contact your local college or visit or contact your local college for more information.

Notes to editors:

1. Paul McDermott gained his Essential Skills at the North West Regional College in Literacy, Numeracy and ICT.

2. Essential Skills College co-ordinators:

Belfast Metropolitan College – Sharon Rivers – (028 9053 3117).

North West Regional College – Margaret Welsh-Rush – (028 7127 6195).

Northern Regional College – Kathleen Mullan – (028 7034 0116).

South East Regional College – Linda Duffy – (028 4461 5815 Ext 6201).

South West College – Fidelma McAleer – (0845 603 1881 Ext 5212).

Southern Regional College – Carolyn Davison – (07809 756 718).

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