£180m investment in new training pathway with FE colleges

Economy Minister Paul Frew has announced an investment of £180million in the NI Traineeship, a new vocational education and training programme for people aged 16 and over, on a visit to Northern Regional College’s Farm Lodge campus in Ballymena.

The major investment will fund almost 20,000 Traineeship places in total over seven years, starting in September 2021.

Developed in partnership with employers, the NI Traineeship combines classroom learning with work-based training, giving those who complete it the qualifications they need to secure employment in their chosen occupation or to progress to higher levels of education and training, such as an Apprenticeship programme.

Sign up to our daily NorthernIrelandWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Delivered by the six further education colleges, including NRC, the NI Traineeship is available in a broad range of employment areas from engineering to retail, hairdressing to joinery, with support for work-based learning being provided by local employers.

Pictured at Northern Regional College’s Farm Lodge campus are Economy Minister Paul Frew and Christine Brown of NRC with NRC Technician Richard Thompson.

Speaking after visiting Farm Lodge campus in Ballymena, the Minister said: “I am delighted to announce the NI Traineeship Programme. Training the Northern Ireland workforce is essential in rebuilding the post-pandemic economy and in addressing a future skills deficit. That is why my Department is investing around £180million to fund 20,000 Traineeships over the next seven years – a real step change in vocational training. Traineeships will provide an excellent opportunity for those who are not in employment to gain a Level 2 qualification that can unlock their chosen career path, or set them up to progress to higher levels of education, such as an Apprenticeship. Participants on a Traineeship will also learn valuable skills for employment, and the work-based training is the best way to develop wider and transferable skills that are so vital in the world of work. This is a fantastic and accessible new route to learning and I urge anyone who is interested and eligible to look at the wide range of training options available through the local FE colleges.”

For more information on NI Traineeships and to apply, visit /www.nidirect.gov.uk/traineeships.