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Belfast Met: Now is the time to invest in apprenticeships

  • By Aidan Sloane, Head of Skills | Apprenticeships | Employer Engagement at Belfast Metropolitan College

    Living in these unprecedented and challenging times, it is important now more than ever that we continue to support the development of the Northern Ireland skills pipeline, which supports the needs of both employers and our economy whilst also providing valuable employment for our young people.

    Belfast Met is accelerating its efforts in collaboration with employers across a range of industries to ensure the retention of existing apprentices in employment, as well as the recruitment of new apprentices to new employment opportunities. We are delighted with the recent announcement from the Department for Economy that decisive action has been taken to overcome the potentially devastating impact of the crisis on the apprenticeship market, with over £17.2million in additional financial support now available for employers to help retain and recruit apprentices.

    RELATED: Employers to receive up to £3,700 for every apprentice they retain or employ

    Apprenticeships and traineeships improve the employability of young people and prepare them for the jobs that employers and wider society need, and so employers have a pivotal role to play. Businesses are the contributor of employment opportunities and have the influence to provide work-based learning opportunities across a range of professional and technical areas.

    In this context, it makes good sense for employers to recruit young people in order to mitigate the risk and leverage the opportunity, creating new apprenticeship opportunities that will enhance their workforce and deliver both economic and social impact. Employers can develop their skills and talent pipeline and develop innovative workforce development, by supporting young people through tailored and fully funded apprenticeship solutions.

    At Belfast Met’s Centre for Skills & Apprenticeships we are fully committed to supporting employers to provide training and apprenticeship opportunities for young people across Northern Ireland. Amidst the crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, we have further developed our online blended learning solutions to ensure the continuity of our training and apprenticeship provision.

    RELATED: Belfast firm receives £40k to help COVID-19 business recovery through apprenticeships

    We also continue to work collaboratively with employers at a national, regional and local level to create new apprenticeship opportunities that are helping young people develop the skills and attributes they need to be successful in the world of work.

    The current crisis requires a comprehensive and collaborative response to support economic recovery efforts. We need to skill, reskill and upskill our people to support our economic recovery and to provide a sustainable path out of the crisis.

    Belfast Met’s Centre for Skills and Apprenticeships provides a tailored responsive approach for employers, identifying and responding to individual employer needs. We are seeking employer partners across a range of industries to support economic recovery and development, and to ensure we maintain and grow the supply of apprenticeship opportunities in Northern Ireland.

    RELATED: CareerEncode: 'Why apprenticeships are the future for NI's tech sector'

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