Belfast Region City Deal partners are putting apprenticeships in the spotlight as part of their focus on how employability and skills will underpin their plan for jobs through 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.

Chair of Belfast City Council’s Strategic Policy and Resources Committee, Councillor Christina Black, speaking on behalf of the partners, said:

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. Our focus is about making sure that we have the right support in place to ensure that people can access those new opportunities and that businesses in the Belfast Region can access the talent they need to grow. Apprenticeships will play a key role in this.

These webinars will provide valuable information for 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 – so it’s our aim to highlight apprenticeship information, guidance and funding support so that as many of our employers and job seekers can benefit. There’s never been a better time to discover the value of apprenticeships to your business.

It’s also a great opportunity for employers to have their say on how the current apprenticeship system could be enhanced to better meet their needs as we’re researching how we can shape the future of apprenticeships to achieve the best results possible for our economy. As part of our research, we’re also engaging with the public sector to help shape apprenticeships to meet the needs of that sector.

The webinars are scheduled as follows:

  • Manufacturing: Thursday 25 March at 9:30am
  • Life and Health Sciences: Wednesday 28 April at 10am
  • Public Sector: Tuesday 11 May at 10am
  • Professional and Business Services: Tuesday 1 June at 10am
  • Digital: Tuesday 15 June at 10am

Commenting on the webinars, Diane Dodds, Minister for the Economy, 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.