Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week (7-11 February), led by the Department for the Economy, highlighted the important role played by apprenticeships across Northern Ireland by bringing together partners including local councils, employers, universities, further education colleges.
A week-long programme of in-person and virtual events and activities raised the profile of apprenticeships, highlighted the benefits of becoming an apprentice and showcased how apprenticeships can transform the future of apprentices and businesses.
When launching NI Apprenticeship Week, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said:
“As our economy continues to recover following the effects of the pandemic, developing the local skills base is a key priority for me and a cornerstone of the recovery. My Department’s 10X Economic Vision and associated Skills Strategy set out how we want to equip people with the skills they need for the constantly evolving jobs market and build on Northern Ireland’s successes on the global stage. Apprenticeships have a vital role to play in making this a reality.”
Northern Ireland’s six Further Education Colleges highlighted the importance of apprenticeships to address the skills shortage and how apprenticeships are the first step to gaining vital knowledge and skills that are needed to further advance economic and skills development.
Ken Webb, Chair of the Further Education Principal’s Group said:
“This Week gives us a prime opportunity to reflect on the importance of apprenticeships and the skills they provide to tackle the skills deficit in Northern Ireland”
“Apprenticeships can play an important part in tackling this deficit by providing people with a learning structure and valuable work experience that provides qualifications and holistic skills that are needed for economic growth.”
“As the skills deficit in Northern Ireland becomes clearer the value of apprenticeships cannot be underestimated. With close links to over 9,000 employers, Further Education colleges stand ready to create more industry aligned apprenticeships to ensure our local communities have the skills necessary to gain employment in our localities.”
“On Apprenticeship Week, all six colleges encourage any individual looking to re-skill to consider an apprenticeship. It is an open door to a promising career.”
Central to the week was the NI Apprenticeship Awards 2022 ceremony which shone a spotlight on the range and excellence of apprenticeships across the region. Speaking at the event, Minister Lyons said:
“I want to commend all the finalists who were shortlisted for this year’s awards and congratulate the winners. With around 10,000 participants across our apprenticeship and higher level apprenticeship programmes, to be nominated for these awards is testament to your enthusiasm, dedication to learning and the qualities you bring to your employers.
“I would also like to pay tribute to the great work being done by training providers and employers, without whose support, commitment and foresight we would not be able to deliver apprenticeships. The calibre of entries this year has once again been extremely high and reflects the continued success of apprenticeships during what has been a hugely challenging year for businesses and learners.”
For more information on the week-long events click here.