Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has announced that plans are underway for the introduction of All Age Apprenticeships in 2023.

He said: “The issue of widening access to apprenticeships and, in particular, the introduction of All Age Apprenticeships has been a subject of real importance to many sectors across Northern Ireland.  I am therefore pleased to announce that work to extend funding support to apprenticeships for those of all ages across all sectors is well progressed with plans for introduction in early 2023. 

“This is the culmination of significant efforts by both my Department and the Strategic Advisory Forum on Apprenticeships and Youth Training over a number of years and bolsters ambitions set out in my Department’s 10X Vision to deliver better jobs for everyone.”

The Minister was speaking at the final meeting of the Forum and thanked members for their contribution to ensuring that Northern Ireland has the right skills programmes in place to support the economy.

The Minister continued: “I would like to thank the Chair, Dr Bryan Keating, and all members of the Strategic Advisory Forum for their commitment over the years in supporting my Department as it has implemented reforms to wider apprenticeship and youth training provision.

“Of particular note is the support provided by the Forum at a time when critical recovery interventions were required to maintain apprenticeships and youth training during the Covid pandemic.”

Welcoming the Minister’s announcement and attendance at the Strategic Advisory Forum meeting, Dr Bryan Keating said: “I am very proud of the contribution that this Forum has made since its formation in 2014 to support the Department with its implementation of its Apprenticeship strategy. There have been many challenges and successes along the way. I want to personally thank all members, who have never wavered in their commitment and support for apprenticeships and youth training, and it is very fitting that the Forum’s desire to see apprenticeship provision widened has been addressed with the introduction of all age apprenticeships.”

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