Belfast Region City Deal partners, which include Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, are putting apprenticeships in the spotlight as part of their focus on how employability and skills will underpin their plan for jobs through the ambitious city deal investment.

Funded by the Department for the Economy’s Apprenticeship Challenge Fund, the city deal partners are delivering a series of insight webinars for employers to discover more about apprenticeships in their sector and share their views on how the current apprenticeship system could be enhanced.

The planned £1 billion Belfast Region City Deal investment will create a host of new business employment opportunities – and up to 20,000 new jobs. The focus is about making sure that the right support is in place to ensure that people can access those new opportunities and that businesses across the Belfast City Region Deal area can access the talent they need to grow.

Photo by sarah joos from FreeImages

Speaking on the upcoming webinars Newry, Mourne and Down District Council Chairperson, Councillor Laura Devlin said, “In 2020 Newry, Mourne and Down District Council launched its Regeneration and Economic Development Strategy, of which Skills and Employability is a key pillar. Apprenticeships will play a key role in this. The webinars, delivered by the Belfast City Region Deal, Apprenticeship Challenge Fund aim to provide valuable and timely information for local employers on how others in their sector have taken on apprentices to attract new talent to their industry and to shape and develop their skills. Many employers won’t be aware of the full range of provision available – the webinars will highlight apprenticeship information, guidance and funding support so that as many of our local employers and job seekers can benefit.  There’s never been a better time to discover the value of apprenticeships to your business.” 

The Webinar series also presents a great opportunity for local employers to have their say on how the current apprenticeship system could be enhanced to better meet their needs as the Belfast City Deal Region team are currently researching how the project can shape the future of apprenticeships to achieve the best results possible for the local economy. As part of the research, the project is also engaging with the public sector to help shape apprenticeships to meet the needs of that sector. 

The webinars

  • Manufacturing: Thursday 25 March at 9.30am
  • Life and Health Sciences: Wednesday 28 April at 10.00am
  • Public Sector: Tuesday 11 May at 10.00am
  • Professional and Business Services: Tuesday 1 June at 10.00am
  • Digital: Tuesday 15 June at 10.00am

Commenting on the webinars Minister for the Economy Diane Dodds said, “We want the Apprenticeship Challenge Fund projects to help identify innovative approaches to apprenticeships and identify and address any potential barriers to uptake. This series of webinars is a great opportunity to highlight apprenticeships as a career opportunity and also to showcase the benefits an apprenticeship can bring to the employer and the individual. I am pleased that my Department is funding this activity under the Apprenticeship Challenge Fund and I wish the Belfast Regional City Deal partners every success.” 

The Webinar events are coordinated by the Belfast Region City Deal team at Belfast City Council, on behalf of all the participating Councils of which Newry, Mourne and Down District Council has a key role.

To register or to find out more about the Belfast Region City Deal programme of investment go to WWW.BELFASTCITY.GOV.UK

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