23/03/2009

New Water Apprenticeships Launched

A new employer-led water apprenticeship has been launched in Northern Ireland.

The new apprenticeship, which forms part of the Employment and Learning Department's ApprenticeshipsNI provision, offers employers the opportunity to provide high quality training whilst planning for the future as the water industry expands with both industrial and domestic users.

Launching the scheme, Permanent Secretary of the Department for Employment and Learning, Dr Aideen McGinley, said: "The launch of this new apprenticeship is the culmination of a lot of work and co-operation between the key groups; the employers, the Sector Skills Council, the training suppliers, the awarding bodies and, of course, ourselves in the Department for Employment and Learning."

NI Water has recruited 22 apprentices across Northern Ireland, with off the job directed training taking place at the NI Water Learning & Development Centre in Antrim.

Energy and Utility Skills, the Sector Skills Council with responsibility for the Electricity, Gas, Waste Management and Water sectors, has worked with NI Water to develop and design the framework and to identify the demand for the skills required to enhance productivity.

Dr McGinley lauded NI Water for its commitment to apprenticeships and urged others employers, both large and small, to employ apprentices from the outset and reap the benefits.

She said: "With further employer engagement and quality training, apprentices are an important investment to companies, providing industry with management and leadership for the future."

(PR/BMcC)

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