17/10/2014

Minister Commends College-Led Business Innovation Programme

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry today commended a college-led innovation programme that has helped 520 companies develop new skills, boost jobs and improve profits.

Funded by the Department for Employment and Learning and delivered by Northern Ireland’s six regional colleges, the InnovateUs Programme provides fully funded specialist support to help equip small enterprises with new skills to support innovation that can boost productivity and competitiveness.

The second year of the programme has helped up-skill more than 550 employees, created or safeguarded 66 jobs and directly contributed to a £2 million increase in sales for participating businesses.

Speaking at South West College in Dungannon, Minister Farry said: "My Department is focussed on supporting further education’s links with small businesses and on promoting this innovative programme as part of the Department’s key strategic focus on economic development. Further Education colleges deliver a range of support and programmes to upskill existing employees and enable those in the workforce to gain new skills, talents and competences.

"InnovateUs, the Employer Support Programme, provides opportunities for small businesses to acquire the skills to engage in these innovation activities, enabling them to develop new products, new services and new ways of working. These projects have covered areas such as ICT, renewable technologies, engineering and creative and digital media, delivering tangible impacts to businesses including cost savings, increased sales and access to new markets."

(CD/MH)

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