Workplus calls for NI government to support apprenticeships as unemployment grows

  • As England and the Republic of Ireland announce incentives for businesses hiring apprentices, Workplus CEO Richard Kirk is calling on NI to offer similar support.

    Youth unemployment is on the rise again as a result of factors such as the coronavirus crisis, with Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre predicting that 26% of employable young people will be unemployed by the end of 2020. The tech sector has fared better than most with adapting to the disruption caused by the pandemic, making opportunities 

    The tech sector has produced a number of apprenticeship and degree apprenticeship programmes over the past several years in Northern Ireland, and it's proven to be an effective model for training up people in fields such as FinTech, Cyber-Security, and Data Analysis. Liberty IT has recently taken on six new apprenticeships itself through a scheme called Workplus.

    Workplus CEO Richard Kirk has called on the Northern Ireland executive to focus economic incentives on apprenticeship schemes as part of the region's plan to recover from the coronavirus lockdown. Tech is still booming and the demand for qualified staff is still far outstripping the number graduating from our universities each year, leading many companies to create their own training programmes or work with universities on apprenticeship opportunities.

    Kirk asks that government invests in financial incentives for businesses in Northern Ireland to create new apprenticeships aimed at getting young people into sustainable careers in industry. It's already been announced that businesses in England and the Republic of Ireland will be getting around £2,000 per apprentice they hire, reducing the cost and risk of taking on new people.

    "There is no better and no more critical time to further develop and broaden this space," explained Kirk. "Apprenticeships, some of which last up to six years, are the best way for businesses to find and develop new talent and they are vital to our economic recovery in the medium to long term. They are good news for employers, the economy, young people and those who want to re-train from unemployment."

    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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