Apprenticeships are key to tacking skills shortage say Northern Ireland’s Further Education leaders

To mark the third annual Apprenticeship week, Northern Ireland’s six Further Education Colleges are highlighting the importance of apprenticeships to address the skills shortage.

In a week-long celebration, in partnership with the Department for the Economy, Colleges throughout Northern Ireland will be highlighting how apprenticeships are the first step to gaining vital knowledge and skills that are needed to further advance economic and skills development.

Apprenticeships exist in an increasing range of professional and service sectors that are calling out for more highly skilled individuals to contribute to their economic growth and recovery. Examples of these include apprenticeships in Hospitality, Fintech, Engineering, Applied Sciences, Cyber Security and Marketing.

Apprenticeships are a valuable manner of investing in the people of Northern Ireland. Over 40,000 people have undertaken an apprenticeship which has led to full time employment.

As people have begun to return to the office and seek new employment, the Further Education Colleges are urging learners to contact them to find out about the hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities in their region.

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.”

Sebastian McFarland, Level 3 Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Apprentice at Northern Regional College said:

“If anyone is thinking of changing career or wanting to re-skill, I would thoroughly recommend an apprenticeship. You get paid to learn so you don’t end up with student loans that need repaid. Plus, the balance between practical experience with your employer and the time you spend in college helps make everything relevant.”