The BRCD investment will help to rebalance our local economy by building on the competitive strengths of our region; increasing productivity and creating more and better jobs – fundamental aspects of City and Growth deals across the UK. For it to succeed in this ambition, it will be important that as wide a range of people as possible have the skills needed to avail of the employment opportunities emerging through the planned investments in innovation, digital, tourism, regeneration and infrastructure projects.

The BRCD partners are working together to identify the skills needs resulting from the BRCD investment and to align skills supports to prepare and equip the local workforce. A strategic delivery framework has been created for the BRCD Employability and Skills Programme. It has been designed to address both the needs of individuals seeking to enter the workforce and those who recognise a need to upskill or reskill in order to continue to avail of opportunities within the labour market. The framework integrates a suite of interventions grouped across three thematic areas of:

  • Skills for inclusion
  • Skills for growth
  • Skills for a digital future

Our approach will be responsive and agile to the wider economic environment, continuing to adapt to reflect changes in the employability and skills environment and respond to new intelligence, whilst retaining its central purpose of supporting the economic and social potential of the City Deal programme of investment.

Two students are in conversation as they walk.

Skills for inclusion

Creating opportunities to address skills imbalances and improve access to employment opportunities across the region through socially inclusive progression pathways.

Local councils will play a leading role in delivering interventions on a local area basis, connecting local residents to entry level employment opportunities and addressing barriers to employment.

Through collaboration with the Department for Communities, local councils will use the opportunity of Local Labour Market Partnerships working alongside BRCD partners to ensure alignment with both local needs and Belfast Region priorities, that will:

  • Create awareness and access to BRCD opportunities
  • Focus on supporting unemployed people (including those furthest from the labour market) to move closer to and into employment
  • Deliver employer led approaches through employment academies and new innovative
  • Enable inclusive growth by stimulating employers to create new and innovative pathways into priority sectors

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Skills for growth

Working with employers to align skills programmes and employment opportunities with the growth sectors supported by BRCD; helping to create new apprenticeship pathways and fostering development of higher-level skills.

The BRCD priority sectors include: Digital and Creative Industries; Green Economy; Health and Life Sciences; Construction; Tourism and Hospitality and; Advanced Manufacturing.

We will:

  • Inform the development of new skills pathways in priority sectors
  • Support the future proofing of the apprenticeship system to support new employment, including public sector opportunities
  • Support efforts to address skills imbalances specifically at mid-tier skills level
  • Deliver targeted approaches aligned to BRCD ambitions in priority sectors and support inclusive growth through our partners


Skills for a digital future

Helping to build our digital literacy from grassroots up and enhancing the digital transformation of businesses across the region, with a specific focus upon smaller enterprises.

We will:

  • Inform and, through partners, deliver essential digital skills across the region
  • Support the City Deal ambitions of delivering digitally driven innovation
  • Support and advocate for a suite of provision to support essential digital skills and job specific digital skills
  • Facilitate inclusive growth by supporting the creation of employment pathways into the digital sector or into digitally focused occupations
  • Increase the pace and scale of digital transformation amongst the region’s small business community

As a partnership we will work alongside government partners to inform future employability and skills work programmes, championing the interests of the BRCD in the employability and skills ecosystem. Our partners will deliver collaborative interventions to prepare the pipeline of skills and talent required to support the City Deal and, where gaps in provision exist, will seek to develop solutions collaboratively.

Find out more about the Inclusive Growth ambitions of the Deal here.