NI economic recovery will depend on further education colleges and vocational training

  • Northern Ireland's further education colleges met with MLAs today to outline the importance of work-based qualifications and apprenticeships.

    With educational institutions across Northern Ireland disrupted by the Covid-19 lockdown, attentions are focusing now on vocational training courses and apprenticeships offered by the region's further education colleges. Principals from South West College, North West Regional College, and Belfast Metropolitan College briefed Stormont’s Economy Committee today on the role the colleges can play in rebuilding the economy after the Covid-19 lockdown lifts.

    The colleges will play an important part in ensuring Northern Ireland has high numbers of skilled workers across the economy, and the pipeline for getting those skilled workers ready and into employment could be vocational learning. A large number of students on work-based qualification pathways are currently stuck due to the lockdown, but that will lift eventually.

    Apprenticeships have been particularly important for Northern Ireland's tech sector, with many new tech workers coming through apprenticeship programmes developed in partnership with the Department for the Economy. These apprenticeships typically guarantee a job placement or an interview for a permanent post, with many of the roles created potentially able to be carried out remotely.

    Belfast Metropolitan College Principal and Chief Executive, Louise Warde Hunter, commented on the meeting with the Economy Committee: "In the 2018-2019 academic year, almost 43% of our regulated enrolments came from two of the most deprived wards in Northern Ireland. We are proud of this but know we have much more work to do. Support for the most disadvantaged communities is critical and as we enter the recovery phase, it is more important than ever that no one is left behind and everyone has access to learning opportunities that can lead to a sustainable career."

    Source: Written based on press release

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    Brendan is a Sync NI writer with a special interest in the gaming sector, programming, emerging technology, and physics. To connect with Brendan, feel free to send him an email or follow him on Twitter.

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