Press Release

Committee Highlights Importance of Apprenticeships to Local Economy

Session: 2013/2014

Date: Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Reference: E&L 01/13/14

The Committee for Employment and Learning today hosted an event in Parliament Buildings to focus on the importance of apprenticeship schemes to the Northern Ireland economy. The event was in response to the Department's ongoing Review of Apprenticeships, to assist the Department in promoting the apprenticeship route to both employers and prospective employees. It was also a response to some of the issues raised in evidence to the Committee during its Inquiry into Careers Education, Information, Advice and Guidance in Northern Ireland, which is due to report soon.

Some of Northern Ireland's top organisations, such as Wrightbus, Northern Ireland Electricity and PricewaterhouseCoopers, participated in the event and showcased their apprenticeship schemes.

Speaking at the event, Committee Deputy Chairperson, Thomas Buchanan MLA, said: "Today's event presents an excellent opportunity to highlight the range of apprenticeships on offer throughout Northern Ireland. The Committee is aware of the great work being carried out by our colleges and universities in preparing our young people for employment, but it acknowledges that youth unemployment is still a major issue. It was for this reason that the Committee felt it was important to promote companies that offer the alternative route of apprenticeships — a route that offers practical experience of work as well as access to qualifications, which can be to degree level and above.

"The Committee is delighted that careers teachers and others involved in this field have had the opportunity to meet face to face with companies that can offer our young people a pathway to employment. Through this event, the Committee has demonstrated its continuing commitment to promoting the take-up of apprenticeships, enhancing the skills base in Northern Ireland and boosting employment opportunities for our young people, particularly in these difficult economic times."

The Deputy Chairperson of the Employment and Learning Committee, Thomas Buchanan MLA, welcomed to the showcase event the Minister for Employment and Learning, Dr Stephen Farry, and apprentices and representatives from a range of local organisations.  Pictured l-r are Matthew Graham, apprentice at NIE; Emma Montgomery, apprentice at PWC; Committee Deputy Chairperson Thomas Buchanan MLA; Employment and Learning Minister; Anne Cooke from Apprenticeships NI, Department for Employment and Learning; and David Cargill, apprentice at Schrader Electronics.  

Notes to Editors:

The participating organisations in the stakeholder event were: ADS NI, Allied Bakeries, Delta Packaging, Donnelly Group, Fusion Heating, Greiner Packaging, Little Wing Pizzeria, Magellan Aerospace, Northern Ireland Electricity, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Schrader Electronics, Wrightbus, and the Department for Employment and Learning.

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