New training opportunites for graduates

(l-r) Mark McCormack, Head of Technology at Aflac Northern Ireland; Graeme Wilkinson, Director of Skills at DfE; Damian Duffy, Director of Development at Belfast Met; and Ruair� Mahon, Senior Pega Developer at Aflac NI.
(l-r) Mark McCormack, Head of Technology at Aflac Northern Ireland; Graeme Wilkinson, Director of Skills at DfE; Damian Duffy, Director of Development at Belfast Met; and Ruair� Mahon, Senior Pega Developer at Aflac NI.
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The Department for the Economy has launched a new Assured Skills Academy with US insurance company Aflac in partnership with Belfast Met, offering 20 training places for graduates in any discipline.

Graeme Wilkinson, Director of Skills at the Department for the Economy, said that the Academy is an excellent opportunity for graduates.

Pictured L-R Stephen Wightman from Invest NI, Brendan McGoran from Belfast City Council, Patricia O'Hagan from Core Systems and John Knapton from Catalyst

Pictured L-R Stephen Wightman from Invest NI, Brendan McGoran from Belfast City Council, Patricia O'Hagan from Core Systems and John Knapton from Catalyst

He stated: “The Department is supporting the upskilling of 100 individuals over five years through the pre-employment Assured Skills Academies with Aflac and Belfast Met.

“This first Academy offers 20 people with degrees the chance to gain a recognised training qualification in industry-relevant skills and a guaranteed job interview with the company if they successfully complete the course.

“Aflac is a major global player and has come to Belfast knowing that our local graduate pool is of the very highest standard.

“The Department’s Assured Skills Academy programme helps to deliver a pipeline of skilled people to growing businesses across a range of sectors.

“I am confident that this Academy will be a useful springboard for Aflac to boost its operations in Northern Ireland.”

Mark McCormack, Head of Technology at Aflac Northern Ireland, said: “We are very excited about this Assured Skills Academy and the people it will bring through. Belfast is an adaptable, resilient city known for its reinvention and the graduates of this Academy will be at the forefront of building our technology capability in Belfast.

They will be delivering innovative solutions to our customers in their time of need and being an integral part of the global Aflac family.

“I strongly encourage graduates who are interested in beginning a career in technology with a major global player to apply for this Assured Skills Academy. No experience in the sector is required – we are looking for creative, adaptable people who want to be part of an exciting new company in Northern Ireland. With our partners at Belfast Met, we are offering an opportunity that is truly not to be missed.”

Damian Duffy, Director of Development at Belfast Met, said: “Belfast Met is a leading provider of pre-employment training that is industry-relevant and equips participants with hard and soft skills that will help them operate in the business world. We look forward to welcoming Academy participants onto this exciting course over the next five years.”

Applications for the Aflac Assured Skills Academy are open until 15 November. Applicants must hold a degree in any discipline, or Level 5 qualification in an IT-related subject.

For more information and details of how to apply, visit http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/assured-skills

Meanwhile, a new training programme has been launched to support ten ‘early stage’ tech companies.

The Catalyst programme will give a select group of CEOs the chance to participate in an intensive entrepreneur development ‘boot camp’.

Starting at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge MA, the week-long intense, residential, ‘Entrepreneurship Development Programme’ will connect with 100 other international CEOs.

This will be followed by five strategy workshops at Catalyst Belfast and residential in Boston.