10X skills strategy launched to create more and better jobs in NI

  • NI Economy Minister Diane Dodds has launched ‘Skills for a 10X Economy’, the Department for the Economy’s strategy to support more people to improve their job prospects and fulfil their economic potential.

    "Investing in the skills and talent of our workforce is absolutely vital for economic success," the Minister said.

    She announced the plan's launch at Belfast Met’s E3 Campus today and said the strategy is a key pillar of the10X Economic Vision for Northern Ireland, which she published earlier this month.

    The skills strategy outlines plans to focus on innovation by increasing further education qualifications in technical and professional skills and rebalancing higher education towards Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM).

    The Minister said: “My ambition is to transform Northern Ireland into one of the world’s elite small open economies and skills are crucial to achieving this goal. I cannot overstate this.

    “We already have a talented workforce but we need to capitalise on it. Investing in our skills and talent will deliver more and better job opportunities, greater earning potential, better individual wellbeing and, in turn, an improved overall economy.

    “Skills for a 10X Economy’ sets out a plan to deliver significant growth in qualifications in technical and professional skills through further education. By doing this we will grow in the key strategic areas that are vital to our economic ambitions as set out in 10X Economic Vision.

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    “Alongside this, we will seek to rebalance graduate and postgraduate qualifications in higher education towards STEM subjects, which are so crucial for boosting innovation and equipping us for the jobs of the future," the Minister continued.

    “The strategy will also tackle inequality by supporting people with low or no qualifications to overcome the barriers to employment and making the most of their capabilities.”

    “I will establish a Skills Council for Northern Ireland which will bring together leaders from government, business, education and trade unions because I want to put these key sectors at the heart of our efforts to drive forward skills development.

    “Delivering on the strategy will require investment and I will work with my Executive colleagues to secure the required support.”

    Stakeholders and the public are invited to review the proposed skills strategy and give their views as it is launched for public consultation.

    The Minister added: “I want to hear from everyone who has a view on what Northern Ireland’s future skills base should look like – please engage with the consultation and make your voice heard on how we can deliver better skills, better jobs and better lives.”

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    Members of the Department’s Skills Strategy Advisory Group have given the skills strategy their support and endorsement.

    Angela McGowan, Director, Confederation of British Industries, Northern Ireland, said: “CBI research shows that nine in ten employees will need to reskill by 2030. New technologies and the changing nature of our economy are transforming the skills needed for many jobs, while other roles are being lost entirely. 

    "As Covid-19 accelerates changes to the world of work, this new NI skills strategy provides a unique opportunity to drive an upskilling and reskilling effort to futureproof livelihoods and power local business competitiveness”.

    The skills strategy consultation document is available in both summary and full-length versions at: www.economy-ni.gov.uk/skills-strategy-consultation

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