Other News In Brief

UUP Welcomes Liz Truss Announcement

The UUP has welcomed the news that Foreign Secretary Liz Truss is to introduce new legislation to change the NI Protocol as "a step towards fixing the protocol in a pragmatic way".

UUP Leader Doug Beattie said: "I regret that we have got to this point, but this circular conversation cannot continue without conclusion. I welcome that the Foreign Secretary has said the Government’s preferred option remains a negotiated outcome, but it is important to know that the UK Government is prepared to act to protect Northern Ireland’s place within the UK Internal Market and remove the Irish Sea Border as well as protecting the hard fought for Belfast Agreement.

"The present political crisis has been well trailed over the last 7 months as was the way out of it. The Ulster Unionist Party has been clear since 2019 that there should be no checks on goods travelling from Great Britain to Northern Ireland if those goods are remaining in Northern Ireland. This is a reasonable and rational ask.

"This position now seems to be the direction of travel between the UK and EU. Setting aside my frustration that it has taken three years to get to this point, I now question what is the continued delay in agreement if all parties in the negotiations accept this as the landing zone?

"What is clear to me is that the EU needs to change its mandate. I believe that Maros Sefcovic understands and accepts the landing zone, but I sense the hurdles are other member states. I appealed to him directly in Brussels in March to move on trade before the election as what would come afterwards would be toxic. And now here we are in a game of everyone trying to vigorously prove how they are right while Northern Ireland remains without a Government.

"We need cool heads, not knee-jerk reactions. Not the megaphone diplomacy that we saw from Simon Coveney over the weekend. There are clear problems that are in need of solutions, rather than sanctimony which does not help the people on Northern Ireland one jot."

SF Accused UK Govt Of 'Planning To Break The Law'

Sinn Féin have accused the British government of launching a "plan to break the law" while continuing to give cover to the DUP to block an Executive being formed to support workers and families.

Speaking from London, North Belfast MP John Finucane said: "People voted to make politics work, to fix the health service and invest an extra £1 billion and they voted for an Executive to put money in their pockets to deal with the cost-of-living crisis.

"They did not vote for Boris Johnson and the Tory party to give cover to the DUP to hold society here back and block the formation of an Executive.

"We need an Executive up and running now, people should not have to wait a day longer. No one has a veto over progress.

"Today, the same British government that negotiated and agreed the Protocol has announced a plan to legislate to break international law and undermine the Good Friday Agreement.

"Businesses are benefiting from the huge opportunities afforded by the Protocol to create jobs and attract investment through unique access to the British and EU markets.
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"The British government should stop creating further instability, end the threats to take unilateral action and work constructively with the EU in negotiations to find solutions to fix the problems."

Sixth PwC Professional Services Assured Skills Academy Announced

The sixth PwC Professional Services Assured Skills Academy, offering the opportunity for 20 individuals to kick start a career in professional services, has been announced by Economy Minister Gordon Lyons.

The Academy is open to people with a 2:2 degree in any discipline, as well those with a Level 5 qualification (HND or Foundation Degree) who have some experience in an office, banking or professional environment. Successful Academy participants will be part of Operate, PwC’s operational delivery business providing future-focused solutions to challenging operational issues.

Funded by the Department for the Economy, this PwC Professional Services Assured Skills Academy will see participants receive eight weeks industry-relevant pre-employment training delivered by Belfast Met.

Commenting on the Academy the Minister said: "Strengthening our local skills base will play a key part of our economic growth and Assured Skills Academies have a proven track record of success in this area. This sixth Academy will provide twenty individuals with a great opportunity to gain the skills they need to compete for jobs within one of the largest professional adviser company’s in Northern Ireland.

"Successful applicants to the Academy will receive £155 per week training allowance and will be very strongly positioned to compete for a job upon completion. I encourage anyone who is interested and eligible to apply for this exciting opportunity."

Course content will cover areas including: project management, business analysis, commercial awareness, financial accounting, Microsoft and Google tools, data visualisation and design thinking.

Deborah Stevenson, Operate Director at PwC, said: "Investing in people is at the heart of everything we do, which is why we are delighted to once again support the Professional Services Assured Skills Academies at Belfast Metropolitan College. These Assured Skills Academies have allowed us to not only invest in numerous talented people over the years, but have also been a great way for us as a business to give back to the local economy by providing roles to participants following the Academy. Those taking part in the Academies will gain access to exceptional training across a range of skills and areas that are relevant in today's world, with practical application and insight into working with PwC."

Louise Warde Hunter, Principal and Chief Executive of Belfast Met, said: "We are delighted to be delivering the sixth PwC Professional Services Academy. The development of skills is a vital key element in helping our economy to rebuild at this challenging time. The industry relevant pre-employment training provided by Belfast Met will provide Academy participants with the opportunity to develop the requisite skills to gain employment within the professional services sector and we very much look forward to welcoming our new cohort of learners."

Applications for the PwC Professional Services Academy are open now and will close on 5 June 2002.

Training will be a blend of onsite and online learning and successful applicants will require appropriate IT access in order to link to the online tuition.

Video interviews will be held on 14, 15 and 16 June 2022 and training will commence for successful applicants on Monday 4 July 2022.

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