Queen’s University Belfast has announced free online places to upskill and retrain individuals directly affected by COVID-19.
It follows the success of previous Department for the Economy funded COVID-19 response Postgraduate Certificates which began earlier this year, and were provided to aid individuals impacted by furlough or job loss due to the current pandemic.
The Department for the Economy will be funding 410 places on the courses, which will be delivered online to participants for free over a 12 week period.
The courses on offer include: Software Development, Applied Cyber Security, Audio-Visual Post Production, Data Analytics, Biostatistics & Bioinformatics, Engineering a Zero Carbon Transition, Advanced Chemical Analysis, and Materials Science & Engineering.
Encouraging people to apply, Economy Minister Diane Dodds said: “I am very much aware of the impact Covid-19 has had on the employment of so many people across a wide range of sectors. This announcement today by Queen’s University Belfast of 410 free online training places for individuals directly affected by coronavirus will provide people with the opportunity to upskill and reskill, enabling them to pursue a career in what are growing local sectors. Developing the skills of our people right across Northern Ireland is a key priority for me as we begin the process of rebuilding our economy and I am determined to keep skills at the centre of our long term strategic plans.”
Professor Ian Greer, President and Vice-Chancellor of Queen’s University Belfast said; “As a University, we are committed to supporting individuals and society during this difficult time. Following the success of the recent Postgraduate Certificates, colleagues have worked closely with the Department for the Economy and are very pleased to be able to offer additional courses in these pertinent areas. These courses, as well as being a response to the current economic challenges and job losses, are also enriching Northern Ireland’s knowledge economy in the longer term.”
Angela McGowan, Director CBI Northern Ireland, said, “The announcement by the Department for the Economy to allocate significant levels of funding into on-line training for digital courses such as Software Development, Data Analytics and Applied Cyber Security is warmly welcomed by the CBI in Northern Ireland. The deficit of high level digital skills within the local economy is an issue that the CBI’s Digital Skills Working Group have dedicated much time and resource to over the last two years. In the CBI’s report “Opportunities Available: An Action Plan for Digital Skills in Northern Ireland” we laid bare the realities of the Northern Ireland labour market, the huge gap between demand and supply for digital skills and we also highlighted the consequences for the wider economy and industry when such skills are not available. It is clear that the Minister and the Education sector have listened to business and they have now put commitment and resource into fixing the digital skills problem. But it is also important to remember that this investment is not just good for the wider economy; it is clearly a great opportunity for young people and those whose jobs have been impacted by Covid19 to upskill and invest in their future careers.”
The courses will commence from January 2021 and will run until April 2021.
In April 2020, Queen’s, supported by the Department for the Economy, set up a Postgraduate Certificate in Software Development. The course, which equated to one third of the Master’s (MSc) degree, offered 150 free places for Northern Ireland residents who had been furloughed or made redundant as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Applications are currently open, and will close at 11.59pm on 22 November2020. All applicants must have access to a computer and internet connection.
For more information about the courses, including admissions and application information, please visit go.qub.ac.uk/pgcert.