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Further roll-out of Skills to Succeed campaign

Skills Photo 2
Barry Ferris and Gareth Harkness who feature in the Skills to Succeed apprenticeship advertisement.
Rebecca Kincade on August 19, 2014 - 7:46 am in News

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry has launched a further roll-out of the Skills to Succeed campaign to highlight the importance of skills and qualifications for individuals, employers and the economy.

The Minister said: “Skills are widely accepted as the key raw material in the modern knowledge-based economy and are a key driver in how we achieve our economic goals. The ‘Skills to Succeed’ campaign aims to raise the skills level of the whole workforce, to ensure we are equipping people with the skills and qualifications that they need to achieve their full potential and to support our local businesses and the economy.

“No matter what stage you are at in your career, whether starting out and making initial careers choices or deciding to upskill or reskill to improve your employability and career prospects, skills are vital at all levels and throughout everyone’s working life.”

The ‘Skills to Succeed’ campaign will highlight a number of initiatives including the Youth Employment Scheme, Apprenticeships and Essential Skills, all of which include real local people who have benefited from skills training.

Ryobi Aluminium Castings engineering apprentice Gareth Harkness and his engineering manager Barry Ferris are both featured in the apprenticeship campaign. Gareth said: “I did well at school and I wanted to get out in the workforce and start earning. An apprenticeship was the smart way for me to achieve this. Whilst at Northern Regional College I learnt new and innovative techniques in the use of modern Robotics, Computer Aided Design and Control Panels. With the help of Ryobi Aluminium Castings I am able to further develop and integrate this learning to production techniques.”

Gareth’s achievements to date were recognised recently, when he was crowned Apprentice of the Year 2014.

Steph McDaniel, a graduated Fujitsu apprentice who appears in the campaign said: “I joined the Fujitsu Infrastructure services team as an apprentice back in 2010. Initially, it was quite a transition where suddenly I was out of the school environment and into the world of work. It was very positive experience which not only developed my skills but which helped me grow and mature as a person. Preferring to learn on the job in real life situations, I successfully completed the apprenticeship in June of 2012 and was offered full time employment with Fujitsu. I would recommend this route to anyone as an alternative to university.”

Michelle Lavery, a young mother from Newtownards who features in the Essential Skills campaign, said: “Essential Skills has played a pivotal role in my life. The Essential Skills maths course helped me gain new skills and confidence in working with numbers. I have been able to use this new skill to help my children with their homework. Classes are small and personal plus you can learn at your own pace. I would encourage others who want to improve on their reading, writing or numeracy skills to sign up for a free Essential Skills Course.”

Further information on the Skills to Succeed campaign encouraging the public and employers to find out what programmes and assistance is available on http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/skills or by calling .

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