Mayor backs Apprenticeship week in Derry

Derry mayor Michaela BoyleDerry mayor Michaela Boyle
Derry mayor Michaela Boyle
Derry City and Strabane District Council is taking part in Northern Ireland’s first-ever Apprenticeship Week this week in an effort to demonstrate how apprenticeships work for individuals, businesses, communities and the wider economy.

Apprenticeship Week which is being coordinated centrally by the Department for the Economy and supported by councils, education providers and training providers across Northern Ireland, will take place until Friday 7 February.

A programme of events and activities, awards and a bespoke marketing campaign showcasing the benefits of apprenticeships will take place as part of the initiative.

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Welcoming Derry City and Strabane District Council’s participation in Apprenticeship Week 2020, Mayor Cllr Michaela Boyle said it was an excellent opportunity for everyone to celebrate and share the positives around apprenticeships.

She said: “I am delighted that our council is taking a proactive approach to supporting this very worthwhile annual week-long celebration of apprenticeships and doing their bit in getting out the positive message around apprenticeships and the benefits and opportunities that exist for those who wish to earn as they learn.

“The council’s skills teamwork very proactively with the North West Regional College, the Careers Service and local private training providers to actively promote this as a viable pathway and to create jobs for young people and develop the skills of existing staff.”

Tina Gillespie, Derry City and Strabane District Council explained that Apprenticeship Week provides the Council with an opportunity to promote work-based training programmes that exist across the council area.

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She said: “We actively promote the fact that apprenticeships are work-based training programmes designed around the needs of employers, which lead to employees, both new and existing, gaining nationally recognised qualifications.

“We work with our partners to promote how apprenticeships can be used to train both new and existing employees who are moving into a new or changing job roles and need to learn new skills. We also work to increase the number of apprenticeships available and the uptake of apprenticeship opportunities and we have invested in a marketing campaign ‘Get paid, get qualified’ to drive up numbers.

“We also carry out a matching exercise between those wishing to go down the apprenticeship route and employers looking for an apprentice and have seen some fantastic local success stories of young people who have gone down the earn as you learn route.”

Among the events taking place locally during Apprenticeship Week will be a HLA Meet the Employer event at the North West Regional College on 05 February and an Engineering Futures event that will run throughout Apprenticeship Week highlighting the various career routes that are available in the engineering industry.

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In addition to this, Babcock Training will have an Apprenticeship stand in the Asda store in Strabane on 05 February and their Regional Trainers will also complete floor walks on the Asda shop floor and engage with Asda colleagues educating them on the Apprenticeship opportunities with the company and the benefits of an Apprenticeship programme.

Babcock Training & Starbucks will also have Apprenticeship stand in Starbucks Foyleside and their Regional Trainers will provide a recruitment and information event speaking to the public and employees of Starbucks about Apprenticeship programmes on the afternoon of 07 February.

Tina added that council would be embarking on a social media campaign during Apprenticeship Week that will attempt to tackle some of the myths around apprenticeships.

“There are some preconceptions out there around apprenticeships and we are really keen to address these full-on through our social media campaign and messaging.”

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Many people think that apprenticeships are confined to manual industries and are male-dominated however we can show that this not the case and that apprenticeships are available in a multitude of occupations and industries including IT, childcare, health and social care, law, retail, business admin and agriculture. Apprenticeships have changed and are now available in a wide range of jobs and industries and are for both men and women,” she explained.

Encouraging young people, parents, education providers and businesses to support Apprenticeship Week and to attend some of the events to find out more about the benefits of work-based training opportunities, the Mayor said it was important that people think outside the box in terms of education and employment opportunities.

“Not everyone is suited to going to university and an apprenticeship is something that more people should consider as a career option. We are hoping that by working in partnership with the Department for Economy, the education providers, businesses and training providers we can really get that positive message out there to students and their parents that this is a real and viable option for them,” she added.

To find out more about what is happening in Derry Strabane for Apprenticeship Week visit –

You can follow Northern Ireland Apprenticeship Week 2020 on Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #NIAW2020.