Talents of Northern Ireland's Young must be used

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 03 February 2010

Reference: E&L 02/09/10

We must use the talents of all our people to ensure a vibrant economy and society. That’s the message from the Assembly Committee for Employment and Learning which hosted an event looking at the issue of young people and education and training.

This event was designed to look at why some 40,000 of our young people find themselves disengaged from training and employment (the so called NEETS—not in education, employment and training) and to look at ways of addressing these issues.

Chairperson of the Assembly’s Employment and Learning Committee, Sue Ramsey, MLA said: “We need to establish why these young people are falling through the cracks and what sorts of techniques are working to get them into training and education.Crucially, we need to address the weaknesses in our system, which cause so many of our young people to become disengaged from the mainstream.”

The Committee has already carried out a great deal of work, alongside the Department for Employment and Learning (DEL) to improve the provision of professional and technical training for young people.

In 2009, the Committee published a Report into its Inquiry into the way forward for Apprenticeships and DEL has pledged to implement the bulk of the Committee’s recommendations when the ApprenticeshipsNI programme, which is designed to provide alternative pathways into technical careers, comes up for re-negotiation and renewal.

Sue Ramsay said: “The Committee and the Department are working closely together to make ApprenticeshipsNI a flagship programme. In conjunction with business and the colleges, we want to make apprenticeships an exciting and open-ended career option. An apprenticeship should and must be seen as a worthwhile alternative to a university degree. The Committee believes that this will be a key way of getting young people who fall into the NEET category back on track.”

ENDS

Pictured at the event are (l-r) Geordie Bingham (Dr B’s Kitchen), Clare McCaughey (Dr B's Kitchen), Sue Ramsey (Chair of the Employment and Learning Committee), Jessica Smyth (Prince’s Trust) and Nichola Laffin (Dr B's Kitchen).

Pictured at the event are (l-r) Geordie Bingham (Dr B’s Kitchen), Clare McCaughey (Dr B's Kitchen), Sue Ramsey (Chair of the Employment and Learning Committee), Jessica Smyth (Prince’s Trust) and Nichola Laffin (Dr B's Kitchen).

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