CBI Northern Ireland survey shows local companies boosting apprenticeships

Nigel Smyth CBI Northern IrelandsmTwo-thirds of those companies which currently run apprenticeship schemes plan to give more young people in Northern Ireland an opportunity to take their first steps into the job market.

 You can download the full CBI/Pearson Education & Skills survey 2014 here

The 2014 CBI/Pearson Education and Skills Survey, which had 291 respondents, 66 of which have employees in Northern Ireland, found that firms in the region have a growing need for higher skills – with 79% expecting demand to increase in the next three to five years.  However, 59% of companies said they were not confident they will be able to access enough highly skilled workers to meet their needs.

60% of firms in Northern Ireland which already run apprenticeships plan to increase them in the years ahead. But too many are still reluctant to get involved. Our survey identified reforms which would make firms more likely to take on apprentices. These include: creating programmes that are more relevant to business needs (46%); cutting red tape (38%) and routing Government grants directly to employers (23%). 

Nigel Smyth, CBI Northern Ireland regional director, said:“It’s increasingly clear that Northern Ireland faces a shortage in skilled technicians in the years ahead, if we fail to create more chances for young people leaving education and for existing workers.

“Apprenticeships can help benefit the local economy but also tackle the scourge of youth unemployment.

“Northern Ireland has been a driving force in the UK’s economic recovery and if we are to build on this, we need a highly skilled workforce to meet growing demand from local firms.

“The business community is very supportive of the current direction of the review of apprenticeships by the Department for Employment and Learning. Moving towards the truly employer-led model that industry wants to see is a genuinely positive development.”

Rod Bristow, President of Pearson UK and Core Markets, said:“Everyone agrees that all our young people should be better supported as they prepare for the workplace – business leaders in Northern Ireland are echoing the voices of teachers, Ministers and indeed young people themselves in calling for a more joined up approach to the transition from education to employment.

“The challenge now is to grasp the nettle so we bring employment and education opportunities together to meet the urgent social and economic need of creating a more highly-skilled workforce in Northern Ireland and across the UK.”


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