Posted on Thursday 12 November 2015 by Ulster Business

Farry looks into the future with skills barometer

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry pictured with Gareth Hetherington, Ulster University Economic Policy Centre.  

Employment minister Dr Stephen Farry is hoping a new economic model will allow him to look into the future and predict which kind of skills the Northern Ireland economy is going to need in the years ahead.

Developed by the Northern Ireland Centre for Economic Policy, the Skills Barometer has already backed previous assumptions that a much higher level of skills in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) are needed to keep pace with the economy’s current development.

It also expects 96,000 jobs to be created here between now and 2025, with careers in ICT; professional, scientific and technical; manufacturing; administrative and hospitality and retail offering the most postions.

But demand will be greatest for those with formal qualifications while the prospects for those with low of no skills will suffer, the report said.

And it said those with continuing in further and higher level education will boost earnings with those with a Masters or PhD earning £652 on average, those with a degree earning £603 and those with a foundation degree earning £484.

The minister said he would use the findings from the Skills Barometer to build government policy to make sure the Northern Ireland economy has everything it needs to thrive.

“The findings will be relevant in shaping policy across all areas of the Department’s skills provision including youth training, apprenticeships, further education and higher education,” he said. “It will also act as a driver for the further development of careers education, information, advice and guidance as it will provide students and their parents with information on the current and future labour market opportunities, as well as employment prospects, by level of education and by subject area.

“Businesses will be able to see subjects and sectors where demand is high and where they may need to invest in training.”

“A key feature of the model is the flexibility it brings as a policy tool. It can support the development of any future Northern Ireland economic and skills related strategies and the forthcoming Programme for Government, allowing modelling for Comprehensive Spending Reviews as well as any wider changes in our economic environment.”


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