SINN Féin MLA Caoimhe Archibald has said addressing skills provision is key to unlocking the potential of the economy in the north.
Commenting on a report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research on the Skills System in the north, the Party’s Further and Higher Education Spokesperson said:
“The IPPR report has identified some of the keys challenges facing the north in terms of skills.
“It highlighted that the economy here is very strongly weighted towards SMEs, and that both qualifications levels and career progression levels are lower in the north than the average for England, Scotland and Wales.
“Therefore interventions are necessary to ensure skills provision is addressed.
“The report outlined some skills programmes currently in place such ‘Assured Skills’, ‘InnovateUs’ and the knowledge transfer programme ‘Connected’ are approaches aimed at developing skills which can be built upon.
“There needs to be increased availability of apprenticeships including for those aged over 25, as well as apprenticeships in more diverse sectors.
“Addressing the training needs of those at mid-career stage including retraining and upskilling must become a higher priority into the future to meet changing labour market demands.
“Automation, global uncertainty and Brexit are all challenges which mean a particular focus on upskilling our workforce must be a priority.
“Ensuring high quality training and skills provision will be key to unlocking the economic potential of the north,” added the East Derry MLA.