Minister highlights unprecedented investment in young people

Employment and Learning Minister (DEL) Stephen Farry has highlighted the wide range of measures now being taken to invest in young people and the economic future of Northern Ireland.

The DEL Minister was addressing the Alliance Party’s annual conference on Saturday, detailing the successful initiatives he has delivered to date – including advances in higher education, launching a landmark review of apprenticeships and youth training and ensuring all policies and programmes support his department’s up-skilling agenda.
Stephen Farry said: “I am strongly committed to up-skilling the current and future workforce, and in bringing people closer to the labour market. In this regard, working with young people is particularly important for the future of the local economy. Over the coming decade, there will be a growing need for higher level skills.
“To date, I have secured Executive support to freeze tuition fees and to protect higher education funding. We have also produced Northern Ireland’s first higher education and widening participation strategies.
“I have now launched a major review of apprenticeships and youth training. The nature of our businesses is changing rapidly, and with it the types of employment and jobs on offer and the skills required. The on-the-job training offered by apprenticeships is good for employers and good for our young people. I want to develop alternative and flexible pathways offered by apprenticeships having a status at least as good as the traditional academic route. I am seeking to develop a system of apprenticeships in Northern Ireland which will be recognised across Europe as a gold standard.
“Youth unemployment remains a major challenge. The Youth Employment Scheme is a critical intervention to provide work experience opportunities for those closest to the labour market.
“When I assumed office little was being done to assist NEETs – those Not in Education, Employment or Training, expectations of new policies and programmes were low, and there was no dedicated budget. I have now published a comprehensive Executive strategy, and a budget of £25m over three years has been assembled. Once again the community and voluntary sector are key delivery partners.
“Through all of these policies and programmes, we are delivering a comprehensive investment in our young people and the future of our economy that as good as anything elsewhere in these islands and indeed across Europe.”
Stephen Farry referenced a number of key policies he has created as DEL Minister

· ICT Action Plan for Northern Ireland

Implementation is underway with new courses in schools, colleges and universities, innovative apprenticeships

· Assured Skills Programme

Giving direct training support to inward investments

· Action plan for the food and drink manufacturing sector

· World Host programme

Support for the tourism and hospitality sector

· Employer Support Programme

Promotes innovation and collaboration with business, in particular SMEs

· Steps 2 Success

New employment programme for Northern Ireland that will combine flexibility and individual tailored interventions

· Steps to Work programme

New strands added, including Step Ahead 50+ and First Start

· Youth Employment Scheme

· Comprehensive Executive Strategy to tackle NEETs – Not in Education, Employment or Training

· Review of apprenticeships and youth training

· Higher Education Strategy for NI

Strong emphasis on the role of universities in supporting the economy
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *