Further Education Colleges mark second annual Apprenticeship Week

To mark the second annual Apprenticeship Week, Northern Ireland’s six Further Education Colleges, together with local employers, are encouraging young people to look outside of academic pathways and consider an apprenticeship.

Monday, 26th April 2021, 5:00 pm
Ken Webb, Chair of the Further Education Colleges Principal’s Group

In a week-long celebration, in partnership with the Department for the Economy, each College will look at ‘What it is to be an apprentice’ while highlighting the opportunities and benefits on offer through the many apprenticeships available with employers in Northern Ireland.

Over the last eight years more than 40,000 people have undertaken an apprenticeship that has led to full time employment in a wide range of sectors. The introduction of Higher-Level Apprenticeships has transformed the landscape and is helping to address the current and future workforce development needs of local companies.

Today’s apprenticeships exist in an increasing range of professional and service sectors from Applied Science, Accountancy, FinTech, through to Digital Marketing, Mechatronics and Cloud Computing. Apprenticeships now offer clear progression pathways from Level 2 (GCSE) through to degree level apprenticeships which offer an alternative to the more traditional academic pathway to obtaining a University degree.

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As restrictions begin to ease and people begin to return to and seek employment, the Further Education Colleges are urging younger people to contact them to find out about the hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities in their locality.

Ken Webb, Chair of the Further Education Colleges Principal’s Group said: “Apprenticeship Week gives us an opportunity to celebrate all the fantastic learners who have chosen an apprenticeship. Across Northern Ireland, thousands of young people each year are learning through apprenticeships schemes. The practical, on the job nature of these programmes, combined with the knowledge base and qualifications gained, means a young person is set up to begin their career with the right skills for the right role.

“As the Economy begins to open up again the value of Apprenticeships in supporting economic recovery cannot be underestimated. Apprenticeships are the first step to gaining the vital knowledge and skills that are being sought by employers who often state ‘experience needed’ when recruiting. Across the six Colleges, we offer a range of opportunities for our learners to begin their career progression.

“With close links to over 9,000 employers, there is a range of apprentice options in an array of sectors. From Higher-Lever Apprenticeships in emerging sectors like FinTech and Cybersecurity to programmes in the core sectors of our economy including health and social care, engineering and ICT, the opportunities are endless.

“On Apprenticeship Week, all six colleges encourage any young person looking for career opportunities to consider an apprenticeship. It is an open door to a promising career in your chosen industry.”

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