30/04/2010

Co Antrim Shines At Skills Awards

A Ballymena man has scooped the prestigious title of Northern Ireland Essential Skills Learner of the Year for 2010.

Co Antrim's Alastair McCormick clinched the award at the Essential Skills Awards ceremony, which took place in Hillsborough Castle.

In addition to being named overall winner, he was also named 'Essential Skills Trade Union Learner of the Year'.

Mr McCormick, who works for Dale Farm in Ballymena, undertook and achieved an Essential Skills ICT Level II qualification at North West Regional College.

His new-found skills have enabled him to incorporate ICT into his working day, from planning work rotas to managing financial applications.

Praising the achievement of Alastair and all of the award winners, Employment and Learning Minister, Sir Reg Empey, said: "The success stories of today’s winners serve as an inspiration to anyone wishing to improve their Essential Skills and are fitting recognition for their commitment to lifelong learning."

The Minister said the benefits of improved Essential Skills gave the ability to get a job, improve career opportunities and to feel more confident in everyday life and noted: "Over 70,000 qualifications in literacy, numeracy and ICT have been achieved since the strategy was launched in 2002.

"In the current economic climate, where employers need a workforce that is literate, numerate and comfortable with ICT, the need for investment in Essential Skills has never been greater."

(NS/BMcC)

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