South West College will unite with further education colleges and universities across Northern Ireland to deliver approximately 15,000 free training places in over 250 subject areas for qualifications ranging from Level 2 right up to post-graduation.
The £23 million Skill Up investment programme, supported by the Northern Ireland Office, is a new initiative established to help re-train and re-skill individuals affected by the pandemic.
Launching the Skill Up programme on Wednesday, September 1, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said:
“I am very pleased to announce Skill Up. With support from the Northern Ireland Office, my Department will fully fund around 15,000 training places across the local FE colleges and universities over the next three years, representing an investment of up to £23million. Up to 7,000 places will be available in the first year.
“Since May 2020 my Department has funded more than 7,000 training places for people whose careers were affected by the pandemic. These courses were fully taken up and helped many people to upskill and reskill to boost their career prospects and employability. Skill Up will build on that success, with courses even more accessible – if you meet the entry criteria, you can apply.
Courses will be available at South West College in a diverse range of subject areas including digital, engineering, manufacturing, construction, health and social care, management skills and many more.
The Minister added: “With so many courses available, there is something for almost everyone – please visit nidirect for more information. It could set your career on the path you’ve always wanted.”
Northern Ireland Secretary, Brandon Lewis, said: “I am delighted to announce the three-year programme, Skill Up – The Flexible Skills Fund. This programme, made possible through a £15m investment from the UK Government, with up to £8m contributed from the Department for the Economy, again shows the UK Government's commitment to supporting and protecting the interests of people and businesses in Northern Ireland, and levelling-up across the United Kingdom.
“Such investment will boost the skills of the people of Northern Ireland and reduce the skills imbalance in key growth areas such as Digital, Green Technologies, Life and Health Sciences, Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering and Health and Social Care.
“It will also support a range of educational opportunities from entry level to master’s qualifications, at no cost to the individual. This will be particularly welcomed by those whose employment was impacted by Covid-19 and who, thanks to UK Government ambitions, will have the opportunity to gain new skills leading to better employment opportunities.
“This significant announcement is part of the wider £400million New Deal for Northern Ireland fund that will foster economic growth and build a stable and prosperous future for Northern Ireland.”
For further information and to apply for a course at South West College please visit SkillUp - Flexible Skills Fund Courses at South West College (swc.ac.uk) and for full details on all the available courses please visit: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/skillup