19/08/2013

£1.5m Funding To Boost Employment

£1.5m funding has been released by the Department for Employment and Learning to boost employment and learning opportunities.

The Skills Collaboration fund was launched today by Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry.

The fund will focus on employer-led projects and on enhancing skills competitions.

It aims to create employment and learning opportunities, particularly for young people under 24 years, within small and medium size businesses with less than 250 employees.

Minister Farry said: "The introduction of the Skills Collaboration Fund is designed to encourage employers and other stakeholders to create job opportunities and up-skill their workforce. I am making £1.5m available over the next two years for robust and innovative employment and learning initiatives to assist young adults.

"The fund aims to create job and up-skilling opportunities within small businesses, primarily with young people in priority skill areas and emerging sectors. This will assist in developing a properly skilled workforce, help people fulfil their potential, enhance their employability and equip the local economy to meet the opportunities and challenges of globalisation."

The Minister concluded: "Northern Ireland's success in skills competitions, particularly Worldskills, clearly demonstrates the quality of our training in the Further Education sector. To win such prestigious awards is testament to the high standards of professional and technical training in our colleges, and the commitment to excellence shown by our young people.

"A dedicated amount of the fund will also be used to provide intensive training for individuals who have demonstrated outstanding skills in their chosen profession, or have the future potential to represent Northern Ireland as part of Team UK at Worldskills 2015 and beyond. Financial incentives will also be available to colleges and employers who support skills competitions."

The Skills Collaboration Fund will run for two years, with financial support of up to £750,000 available each year.

(IT/JP)

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