Farry Aims For Gold Standard Apprentice And Youth Training System
Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry, announced in February 2013 a major review of apprenticeships and youth training in Northern Ireland.
Following a statement to the Assembly, the Minister said: “Existing apprenticeship and youth training schemes have served Northern Ireland businesses well, but the types of economic activity in which they engage and the goods and services they produce are changing rapidly. There is a clear need to invest in higher level skills across a broad front to meet these changing needs.
“I want to reflect the changing nature of our economic opportunities in Northern Ireland and to ensure that our training programmes are fit for purpose for the twenty-first century - delivering gold standard apprenticeship programmes.
“This review will ensure that the training opportunities on offer closely match the needs of the economy and equip our young people with economically relevant skills and qualifications. I want to put employers in the driving seat of our future apprenticeship programme, ensuring that the skills of our workforce fit with employer needs.
“We also need flexible and appropriate provision to be available for all of our young people, regardless of their starting point.
“While we already have a strong apprenticeship offering, apprenticeships have lost some of the status they previously held with other pathways of education and training held in greater esteem. Therefore I want to establish a system of apprenticeships that offers a pathway that is regarded as equal to or even better than academic routes. At the same time, I want the review to consider how young people can progress into higher education from a non-traditional pathway if they so wish.
“Not all of our young people will be ready to take on an apprenticeship. Some will need a small amount of additional training to prepare for the challenges of the future apprenticeships; others will require an extended package of training and work experience. There are also young people who are further removed from the labour market whose journey towards employment will take longer. The review of youth training opportunities will ensure that the training available for young people is sufficiently broad and flexible to enable them to fulfil their potential.”
An Expert Panel has been created, which includes employers, providers and academia, to inform the review of apprenticeships and youth training. The panel was launched by the Minister in March 2013.
There will also be wider stakeholder events to take views and share information, and a call for submissions which is likely to be issued in late May/early June.
For a copy of the Oral Statement and the Terms of Reference for the review of policy on Apprenticeships and Youth Training go to: http://www.delni.gov.uk/apprenticeships-review
The Department will report on the review in the Autumn of 2013.