Panel set to help ramp up employment academies in Derry and Strabane

Derry City & Strabane Business and Culture Committee have approved the adoption of a Employment Academies Procurement Framework and are to proceed with the appointment of a panel of training providers to deliver the academies.

Friday, 12th November 2021, 2:44 pm
Updated Friday, 12th November 2021, 2:45 pm

Council officers have been working with employers who continue to have employment opportunities, filling vacancies through an employment academy approach. 

Council’s Head of Business, Kevin O’Connor said: “Clearly, as the pandemic has progressed and the economy has reopened there have been skill shortages in sectors right across the economy and employers have been looking for more innovative ways to try and meet their needs and they have been looking at these employment academies as an approach to doing that.

“Ring-fenced employment opportunities, through the employment academy approach, has been a major area of work and, arguably, has been the most successful, not only in terms of employment outcomes but also in engaging with government departments to demonstrate what works locally and the role that council can play in this space.”

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Kevin O'Connor, Head of Business, Derry City & Strabane District Council.

An employment academy consists of pre-employment training and a guaranteed job interview for those enrolled in it.

Mr O’Connor added: “We want to tender for a bank of training providers across a wide range of specific employment areas over a three year period so that we can roll these academies out at a much quicker and more efficient manner.”

The sectors include: Transport & Logistics, Construction, Manufacturing, Green/Sustainable Economy, Circular Economy; Health Care, Social Care, Education, Childcare/Play Work; Hospitality, Tourism, Leisure, Retail and ICT, Business Administration, Financial Services.

Sinn Fein Councillor Patricia Logue described the proposal as ‘exciting,’ adding: “This is innovative and will help recruit people who are probably furthest away from the job market and it is great to see there is a guaranteed job interview at the end of the process.”

SDLP Councillor Rory Farrell said he ‘understood the role and the importance of skills academies’ to help meet the demand of the labour market.

Supporting the proposal DUP Alderman Maurice Devenney said it was vitally important that council was seen to be proactive during the current employment crisis.

The indicative allocation for each sector would be £500,000 for a 3 year period, with the option to extend for a further year. 

The budget will be drawn from the annual rates allocation, from the Department for Community via the Labour Market Partnership Action Plan and from other sources which may become available over the life of the Framework.

Members unanimously passed the recommendation. 

Gillian Anderson

Local Democracy Reporter