Funded by an investment of up to £23million from the Department for the Economy (DfE) and the Northern Ireland Office, Skill Up is fully funding local further and higher education providers to deliver more than 20,000 training places in over 300 subject areas for accredited qualifications ranging from Level 1 to Level 7.
A celebration event was held at the MAC Theatre in Belfast today to highlight the success of the initiative to date.
Speaking after the event, Graeme Wilkinson, DfE’s Director of Skills Strategy, said: “We are delighted at the success of Skill Up in helping people right across Northern Ireland to reskill and upskill in the wake of the pandemic.
“Feedback from people who have taken up courses has been hugely positive. In a survey, more than 60% said they would not have studied a course had it not been funded. Over 90% rated the quality of their course as excellent or good. And, crucially, more than 90% of survey respondents agreed that enrolling in a Skill Up-funded course had improved their employment prospects.
“Courses are primarily online and delivered in a wide range of areas that are in demand by employers, including Green Technologies, Digital, Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering, and Health and Life Sciences.
“More than 8,000 more places are available to apply for now – visit nidirect to find out more and see what Skill Up can do for you.”
Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office Steve Baker also attended the event. He said: “The Government is committed to helping people reach their potential in Northern Ireland, with over 11,000 people already benefiting from the Skill Up initiative.
“£15 million from the New Deal for Northern Ireland is supporting people and giving them the chance to build their skills and gain better employment.
“The programme, in partnership with the Northern Ireland Department for the Economy, is providing people with the skills they need to gain well paid jobs and employers the pipeline of skilled workers they need for their businesses to grow.
“The Government is firmly committed to driving forward economic growth and the Skill Up programme is a perfect example of how UK Government funding is increasing the prosperity of Northern Ireland.”
A previous course participant, Aoife Curran, said: “Skill Up has helped greatly with my career. I took the opportunity to gain new skills by signing up to a Level 4 Digital Marketing and Social Media course online with North West Regional College, funded through the Skill Up programme. I was in temporary work last year and on achieving the qualification I was able to apply for and secure a permanent Marketing Officer job. The course broadened my horizons, developed my skill set and has helped set my career on a good footing looking ahead. The tutor and the college were supportive throughout my time on the course.”
More information and how to apply for a funded course through Skill Up can be found HERE
Skill Up courses are free to people aged 18 and over and eligible to work in Northern Ireland.