26/09/2001

Empey calls for greater focus on skills acquisition

Enterprise Minister Sir Reg Empey has spoken about the need for greater focus on the levels of skills acquisition and competence in the young people of Northern Ireland.

Sir Reg made his comments during a visit to Ballymena, where he was attending the official opening of the new premises of the Electrical Training Trust, in the Ballymena Business Development Centre.

The Electrical Training Trust provides a comprehensive range of technical and health and safety courses to its industry. The organisation acts in an advisory role on matters such as company safety policy, training audits, training need analysis and Investors in People awards. It also runs the Electrical Modern Apprenticeship which is the largest modern apprenticeship in Northern Ireland.

Commending the Trust on its work, Sir Reg said: "The Trust helps to equip young people with advanced occupational skills, required by industry. These skills are essential to a flexible workforce and critical to Northern Ireland’s international competitiveness.

"Trainees will soon be members of the Northern Ireland workforce, the quality of which is one of our main selling points when encouraging potential investors to locate here.”

The Minister continued: "The Electrical Training Trust is best placed to manage the industry’s Modern Apprenticeship programme. Modern Apprenticeships were conceived and designed by employers and are specifically tailored to meet the requirements of industry today and tomorrow.”

"It is therefore important that organisations such as the Trust continue to train young people in key skills so that we can carry on attracting world class companies to Northern Ireland and help our existing companies to compete globally." (CL)

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