Lyon launches new skills strategy for Northern Ireland


Investing in the skills and talent of our workforce will help unlock economic prosperity for all members of our society, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said today.

Louise Warde Hunter, met in Belfast; Angela McGowan, CBI NI; Mark Huddleston, Makers Alliance; Economy Minister Gordon Lyons; Gareth Hetherington, UU; and Barry Nielson, CITB.

The minister was speaking on Belfast Met’s Titanic Quarter campus as he launched ‘Skills for a 10X Economy’, the Department of Economy’s strategy to help more people improve their job prospects and realize their economic potential.

The Skills Strategy is a key pillar of the department’s wider 10X economic vision for Northern Ireland and sets out plans to focus on innovation by increasing lifelong learning qualifications in technical and vocational skills and rebalancing higher education towards science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The Minister said:

“As we seek to accelerate economic recovery, our vision is to make Northern Ireland one of the world’s elite small economies. The skills of our workforce are key to achieving this goal.

“Our local workforce is already talented, but it’s important that we capitalize and build on that. Access to skills and talent is the number one issue for businesses in all sectors of our economy.

“For each rung in an individual’s skill ladder, the greater the potential reward. People with qualifications earn on average more than 50% more than those with low qualifications. By investing in our skills and talents, we create more and better job opportunities with greater earning potential for all.

“In turn, this will lead to better individual well-being and a better society for all.”

The Minister continued:

“’Skills for a 10X Economy’ explains how we will generate substantial qualification growth in technical and vocational skills through our higher education institutions.

“At the same time, we will seek to rebalance graduate and postgraduate degrees in higher education. We want to focus on the STEM subjects that are so essential to equipping people with the skills they will need for the jobs of the future.

“The strategy will also tackle inequalities by helping people with low or no skills to overcome barriers to employment and make the most of their abilities. This is of utmost importance, with 13% of our working age population having no qualifications, almost double the UK average.

Following a recommendation from research conducted by the OECD, the Department has also set up a Skills Council for Northern Ireland to provide effective advice on the development and implementation of a skills policy. skills.

In this regard, the minister added:

“The NI Skills Council brings together high-level policy makers, business leaders, education sector representatives, and labor unions to provide ongoing guidance and support as we begin the process of implementing the strategy. This includes provisions to continue the whole-of-government approach to ensure a more coherent and collaborative approach to skills policy.

Jackie Henry, Managing Partner People and Purpose Deloitte UK and Chair of the Northern Ireland Skills Council, said:

“I very much welcome the release of the new skills agenda for Northern Ireland. The local economy is changing as Northern Ireland benefits from global growth in areas such as business and financial services, cybersecurity and advanced manufacturing. It is therefore vital that we have people with the skills to fully exploit the opportunities that are available today and in the future.

Louise Warde Hunter, director and general manager of Belfast Met, said:

“The higher education sector is a skills driver for Northern Ireland and will be key in helping the government deliver on its ambitious vision set out in this new strategy, with the aim of inclusive growth.

“An economy that works for everyone is an economy in which everyone can participate. Having the right skills is the passport to making this inclusion a reality. The investment in skills and talent that will flow from the “Skills for a 10X Economy” strategy will have a direct impact on our learners as well as employers.

“Work-ready staff are at the heart of Northern Ireland’s economic future and Belfast Met looks forward to playing its full part in equipping learners, driving innovation and transforming lives.”

Angela McGowan, Director of the Confederation of British Industries, Northern Ireland, said:

“CBI is excited to see NI’s skills strategy released this week. Businesses across Northern Ireland tell us access to skills is their number one priority.

“It is widely recognized that economic growth and living standards are highly dependent on the quality and supply of local labor. This strategy aims to take Northern Ireland’s workforce to the next level by investing in young people, investing in lifelong learning and ensuring that the local skill set meets the needs of our economy.

“Skills for a 10X Economy” was released following a 12-week public consultation on the draft document launched last year. The strategy is available on the DfE website.

Notes to Editors:

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