Dr Farry made the comments as he addressed the Alliance Party’s 45th annual conference on Saturday, where he added Alliance was the only Party putting people before politics and political self-interest.
The North Down MLA also used the opportunity to outline his ongoing work in DEL, including the launch of a new system of Youth Training to provide vocational skills for young people aged 16-24.
He said: “As a liberal party, we treat the individual person as the cornerstone of society and through my Department we invest in the skills of all our people, providing the opportunity for every person to develop to their full potential.
“I am pleased that in DEL we have been able to deliver real results for young people through the Youth Employment Scheme and for older workers through Step Ahead 50+. And from apprenticeships to addressing the gender balance in the workplace, much has been done to deliver skills and to invest employability outcomes.
“But we are reaching a fork in the road and big decisions to be taken over the coming months and years will determine which path Northern Ireland follows. One path leads to a prosperous economy and a shared, cohesive society, with the other leading to continued division and economic stagnation.
“Alliance is determined to travel down the first of those paths, but unfortunately all other four Executive parties are heading in the other direction. David and I are managing a level of cuts that are not of our making, but with a commitment and a sense of responsibility with the aim of protecting the most vulnerable.
“Alliance has delivered and continues to deliver to the commitments we made in our Manifesto, and to make a real difference to people’s lives, to our economy and to our society.”