Seagate and local NWRC pupils among vocational finalists

Learning Minister Stephen Farry
Learning Minister Stephen Farry

Seagate in Derry have been named as finalists in the Northern Ireland Vocational Qualifications Employer of the Year Award.

The US technology firm, which one of the largest employers in Derry, has been shortlisted along with three other companies.

They will now take on the Henderson Group in Newtonabbey, McGee’s from Dungannon and Belfast & Lisburn’s Women’s Aid in the final.

The shortlist was announced by Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry today.

Mr Farry also revealed that there are four local people through to the other part of the twin awards, the NI Vocational Qualifications (VQ) Learner of the Year Award.

The NI VQ Learner of the Year 2014 finalists include North West Regional College Strand Road campus students Anthony Fagan, Yvonne Curran, William McDonald, and William Falconer from the Greystone campus, Limavady.

They will vie for the title with six other students from across Northern Ireland.

The winners in both categories will be announced at a ceremony to be held in the Great Hall at Stormont as part of the VQ Day celebrations taking place on Wednesday 4th June 2014.

Announcing the finalists, Mr Farry said today: “VQ Day provides an opportunity for all those involved in the achievement, development and delivery of vocational qualifications to celebrate the importance of vocational education and training.

“The relevance of vocational qualifications to learners, employers and the growth of the Northern Ireland economy cannot be underestimated.

“Vocational qualifications play a vital role in ensuring that Northern Ireland’s employers have access to skilled personnel who are equipped with the right skills and knowledge to succeed in today’s economic environment.”

He added: “Earlier this year I launched the ‘Skills to Succeed’ campaign which supports the overall aims of my Department’s Skills Strategy ‘Success through Skills - Transforming Futures’. It aims to raise the skills level of the whole workforce, to ensure we are equipping people with the skills and qualifications, including vocational qualifications, which they need to achieve their full potential and to support our local businesses and the economy.”

The winner of the NI VQ Learner of the Year will get a trophy and an iPad air. The Employer of the Year will also receive a trophy.

This is the sixth year that VQ Day has been celebrated in Northern Ireland.