The Department for the Economy has today formally announced the introduction of All Age Apprenticeships which provide opportunities for more people to embark on a career of their choice.
This is in response to the Department’s recent budget consultation response which evidenced the importance of All Age Apprenticeships.
Apprenticeships are critical to the delivery of the Department’s 10x Economic Vision.
The Department for the Economy will now fully fund the off-the-job training element of an apprenticeship under the ApprenticeshipsNI programme regardless of age or sector. This will mean the potential to create an additional 1,700 apprenticeship opportunities per year for those aged 25 and above - this means more careers options open to people of all ages, supporting inclusion and a culture of lifelong learning.
Welcoming the announcement during a visit to the Transport Training Board at Nutt's Corner, the Department’s Head of Skills and Education, Moira Doherty, said:
“Apprenticeships are an excellent way to develop talent and offer real benefits to both the individual and the employer. This new initiative will significantly widen access to skilled jobs across our economy and increase the supply skills.
“All Age Apprenticeships increase the labour pool available to employers across the economy and in doing so, also increase opportunities for a greater range of people, as we start to realise our ambition outlined in the 10x Skills Strategy of a culture of lifelong learning. It also provides a powerful lever for inclusion as it gives opportunities for people to re-enter the workforce or change career who might have thought an apprenticeship was no longer an option.
“We also know that there are particular sectors with skills gaps, such as in health and social care, that we believe All Age Apprenticeships can provide a route for new entrants. I encourage employers to consider how apprenticeships can be central to developing their future talent pipeline, which is essential to long term growth. I also urge those thinking of a career change or re-engaging with the labour market to consider how an apprenticeship can open doors to a new career, and allow them to gain industry-relevant skills whilst earning a wage.”
Commenting on the announcement, Michael Strain, Chief Executive of the Transport Training Board, said:
“TTBNI welcomes the department’s decision to launch All Age Apprenticeships and recognises the opportunities this presents for people to upskill or reskill into a rewarding career in the automotive, transportation and logistics industries that we currently work in. We look forward to delivering apprenticeships to people of all ages in the coming months and years.”
All Age Apprenticeships are now available through the department’s Apprenticeships NI programme, which is delivered by the six further education colleges and over 20 private training organisations.