Claire Sugden, MLA for East Londonderry has welcomed the announcement made this week of the new strategy for Further Education
Miss Sugden said “I welcome the new Further Education Strategy announced this week.
Our local and regional economy is always changing and employees require a skilled workforce to meet new and growing demands. The Further Education sector can respond to these changes to deliver the skills that employees need.
I am pleased that the new Strategy focuses on reaching individuals from deprived areas, and on developing partnerships between learners, employees and communities.
In particular I am encouraged that the Minister seems to be prioritising the Northern Regional College. I have been lobbying for months for a much needed new building in Coleraine and have expressed my concern at the delay in an announcement.
A new build would enable the NRC to invest in skills development and local partnerships so that training meets the needs of local industries and strengthens our local economy. It will also contribute to a growing partnership with Ulster University in Coleraine. Links between Further and Higher Education have been under-developed and this is an area which the new Strategy must address.
I sit on the Committee for Employment and Learning and I am pleased that the potential of FE colleges is being encouraged. For too long they have been underutilised as key contributors to economic development.”