Economy Minister, Diane Dodds, has today announced plans for an apprenticeship recovery package for Northern Ireland.
The Minister was speaking after she secured an additional £17.2million funding from the Executive to help bolster our local Apprenticeship system as it battles the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
She said: “The Covid-19 pandemic is primarily a health crisis but it is also an unparalleled economic event which has had a massive impact on the NI economy.
“The rebuilding and renewal of our economy will require access to highly skilled and talented individuals to enable employers to compete globally and young people, in particular, need to be able to avail of high quality routes into careers.
“To help rejuvenate our skills pipeline, we are preparing a package – bespoke to the needs of our local economy – to ensure that our apprenticeship system bounces back from the devastating impact of the Covid-19 crisis.”
The Minister continued: “The recovery package will aim to minimise apprenticeship job losses, maintain and grow the supply of apprenticeship opportunities and support apprentices who have been displaced and lost their apprenticeship.
“The package will include financial support to incentivise Northern Ireland businesses to return apprentices from furlough, retain them through this period of unprecedented uncertainty and continue their employment until they achieve their apprenticeship result. I will also be directing funding to incentivise employers to take on new apprentices and at enhancing the supply of apprenticeship opportunities.”
She concluded: “I am committed to doing everything within my power to ensure the continued development of an effective skills pipeline which will support the needs of both employers and our economy whilst also providing valuable employment for our young people.”
Further details of the package will be announced in due course.