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Economy Minister addresses international Ministerial Skills Summit

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Economy Minister Simon Hamilton today addressed the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Skills Summit in Norway.

The 2016 Skills Summit is an international meeting of ministers with responsibility for a range of skill relevant portfolios including education, employment and economic development. The Summit was opened by the Prime Minister of Norway, Erna Solberg along with Ángel Gurría the Secretary General for OECD.

The Economy Minister led a plenary session entitled ‘Fostering a whole-of-government approach – improving governance of the skills system’. Opening the session Minister Hamilton commented: “I welcome this opportunity to meet my Ministerial counterparts and to exchange ideas on how we can best maximise skills potential to boost productivity and innovation.

“A key feature of the new draft Programme for Government in Northern Ireland is the need to work collectively. The creation of my Department, the new Department for the Economy, which brings together the economic and skills offering including  apprenticeships and further and higher education provides a real opportunity to ensure the most effective approach to skills development.

“Equipping our workforce with the skills necessary to drive our economic success will require partnership working across government, with industry and academia and this will be crucial to ensuring that we improve our skills to build a better, stronger economy for Northern Ireland to ultimately deliver more and better jobs.”

Concluding the Minister said: “The skills that are produced in Northern Ireland must be in line with current and future economic demands and, learning from other successful regions, the education and training system must be focused on bolstering business investment and economic growth. Attending the Skills Summit has been particularly useful to hear what other countries are doing in terms of skills development.”

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