£180m for new NI Traineeship in carpentry, car mechanics and retail etc at further education colleges in Northern Ireland

The Economy Minister Paul Frew, has announced an investment of £180million in a new vocational education and training programme for people aged 16 and over, delivered by the North West Regional College and other Further Education (FE) colleges in Northern Ireland.

By Ciaran Lockhart
Tuesday, 29th June 2021, 2:02 pm

Developed in partnership with employers, the new NI Traineeship will combine classroom learning with work-based training, giving learners 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.

Traineeships in retail, carpentry & joinery, motor vehicle, and in fabrication & welding are among those being offered from September.

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

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2019: Ricardo Butler and Shane Colgan, Fabrication & Welding, at the North West Regional College Inter Campus Skillbuild competition.

As well as the vocational qualification in the particular professional and technical area, will also get on the job experience via a work placement while also getting assistance with digital skills.

For those interested in applying, recruitment for the courses is now open.

All six further education colleges in Northern Ireland will deliver the traineeship. The major investment will fund almost 20,000 Traineeship places in total over the seven years.

Speaking after visiting Northern Regional College’s Farm Lodge campus in Ballymena, the Economy 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.”

Mr. Frew described the traineeship, which is part funded through his Department’s Economic Recovery Action Plan, as ‘a real step change in vocational training’.

The Minister also said: “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.”

Ken Webb, Chair of the FE Colleges Principals’ Group said: “Now more than ever, people are weighing their options and looking for careers that work for them and that offer long-term opportunities and the chance to progress. Traineeships provide learners with high quality vocational education and training programmes, while also pairing up students with employers and starting that crucial working relationship that often leads to employment.

“The skills gap in Northern Ireland has never been more apparent, and with focus now turning to recovery post-pandemic, it is welcome to see today’s launch by the Minister. The Traineeship will give learners a skilled and learner-focused pathway which will put them on the road to a successful career in their chosen vocation. We would encourage anyone seeking new opportunities to consider a traineeship at your local regional college.”

The Department for the Economy have said that participants on an NI Traineeship may be eligible for financial support through Education Maintenance Allowance or FE Grants. Hardship funds, free school meals and travel passes may also be available.

Applicants must hold a minimum of a Level 1 qualification, defined as four GCSEs at grades D to G, including Maths and English grades D to E, or equivalent.

For more information on NI Traineeships and to apply visit www.nidirect.gov.uk/traineeshipsFor more information on courses available to the North West Regional College see www.nwrc.ac.uk/