Posted on Thursday 9 June 2016 by Ulster Business

Hamilton announces 50 new apprenticeships

Economy Minister  Simon Hamilton is pictured with Richard Kirk, Regional Director, ICE Northern Ireland and Ciara Doherty, Lagan Construction Group.

The new economy minister is hoping to boost the civil engineering sector with the announcement of 50 new apprenticeships.

The posts, which are part of the new Work+ programme and are organised in association with the Institute of Civil Engineers (ICE), will be offered by 24 employers and come as a direct response to last year’s Skills Barometer report which was aimed at aligning the industry’s future employment needs.

It identified a growing need for skilled civil engineering as having high demand for school leavers with intermediate to higher level qualifications over the next 10 years.

Apprentices will attend college on a day release basis for two years, while working full-time for their employer. All six of Northern Ireland’s FE colleges are taking part, and participating companies are offering up to 50 apprenticeship places.

The plan comes ahead of the impending introduction of the government’s Apprenticeship Levy which will affect large companies with a pay bill over £3m annually.

Simon Hamilton said the programme is a good example of collaboration.

“The new civil engineering apprenticeship demonstrates an effective partnership approach, putting employers firmly in the driving seat and working closely with the Further Education colleges,” he said. “This new apprenticeship scheme will allow apprentices to work and gain the qualifications, experience and broader transferable skills they need for long-term progression in education and employment.”

ICE Regional Director Richard Kirk said he wanted to attract “a diverse group of people who will build Northern Ireland’s future and provide better quality of life for its communities.”

“We are encouraging anyone interested in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) to apply – you will be able start on a salary of £10,000 from your first day, work towards a professional qualification, and take your first step into a lifelong career.”

Those wishing to apply for an apprenticeship can find details at https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/work-plus and employers wanting to join the scheme should go to https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/workplus

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