Other News In Brief

Alliance Welcomes Return Of Christmas Nightmovers Bus Service

The Alliance Party has welcomed the return of Translink's Nightmovers service over the Christmas period after months of uncertainty.

Alliance recently met with Chris Conway, Group Chief Executive of Translink and outlined the case for the scheme to return this year.

The services will run on Friday and Saturday nights, with the Late-night Belfast Metro services commencing on the 24th of November, followed by Goldliner/Urby and rail services from Friday, 1st December.

Alliance Infrastructure Spokesperson Peter McReynolds said: "Nightmovers is a crucial service that ensures a safe and relatively low-cost transport option to the public over the darker, winter months.

"A late-night transport service is also a central element to a thriving night-time economy. The introduction of Nightmovers will help stimulate the hospitality and entertainment sectors during the Christmas season, whilst at the same time helping ensure public safety.

"Whilst we have confirmation that the service will run again over the busy festive period, albeit more scaled down than last year, Alliance would like to see Nightmovers become a regular, permanent feature of Translink's public services. Northern Ireland is falling behind the rest of the UK and Ireland in its provision of a late-night transportation system that serves the needs of the public.

"Chronic underinvestment in public transport infrastructure has restricted late-night transport becoming a reality. We urgently need a restored Assembly and Executive to ensure the sustainability of Translink's finances and to enhance their capital funding to deliver essential projects and usage as an alternative mode of transport to the car."

New Welding Assured Skills Academy Announced

Twelve new training places have been created on a new part-time Assured Skills Academy in welding at South West College (SWC), the Department for the Economy has announced.

Funded by the Department, the 12-week intensive training programme will be delivered by SWC at its dedicated training facility in Cookstown. Participants will receive industry-standard welding training that will provide them with the skills to take up potential welding roles with companies in the local area.

Highlighting the opportunity, Graeme Wilkinson, Director of Skills at the Department for the Economy, said: "The engineering sector is hugely important to the local economy and people with welding skills are in high demand in our local engineering and manufacturing sector, as demonstrated by the number of local companies supporting this Assured Skills Academy.

"This collaborative approach, delivered part-time, evenings and weekends, at South West College, will provide an opportunity for people who are unable to avail of a full-time course, to upskill or reskill, gaining an industry-recognised welding qualification which will give them a great opportunity to pursue a rewarding career."

Academy participants will receive a weekly attendance-based training allowance as well as support with travelling and childcare costs. Upon successful completion of the Academy training participants will be guaranteed an interview to take up a welding position at one of the supporting companies.

The online application form must be completed by 12noon on Wednesday 6 December 2023. Applicants must be at least 18 years old by Tuesday 9 January 2024 and eligible to work in the UK.

The Academy will be delivered part-time, commencing Tuesday 9 January until Thursday 28 March 2024.

Govt Must 'Act Within International Agreements' – UUP

The UUP has called on the UK government to "act within the international agreements it has committed to", following a Supreme Court ruling on their proposed Rwanda plan.

The Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the proposed plan breaches international agreements.

UUP Deputy Leader, Robbie Butler, said: "Unauthorised immigration is a growing concern for many people across the United Kingdom, but how we address it must be done in a manner that protects the rights and legal responsibilities of all involved.

"I fully support the call that we should be working with partners across the world to identify, apprehend and imprison those who benefit from the fear and suffering of vulnerable people seeking safety by running despicable human trafficking rings.

"We need only consider the deaths of the 39 Vietnamese men and women, in 2020 who died in the trailer of a lorry due to lack of oxygen, to understand the inhumanity of those who would profit from people smuggling.

"We are living in very troubled times, with war and despair across the globe. While it is essential that we do all we can to protect our borders and manage unauthorised immigration, particularly from those who financially benefit from people smuggling, we also need to provide safety for those escaping war and persecution and not lose sight of our humanitarian nature which defines the generosity and spirit of our United Kingdom."

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Pilot Welding Training Academy Launched In Belfast
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22 August 2023
New Welding Skills Academy Announced
The Department for the Economy (DfE) has announced a new Assured Skills Collaborative Welding Academy at South West College (SWC). Seven local companies have joined forces with SWC to offer 12 individuals an opportunity to become skilled in welding.