Chair appointed to Strategic Advisory Forum on Apprecticeships

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry has announced the appointment of Dr Bryan Keating as Chair of the interim Strategic Advisory Forum on Apprenticeships.

Following a second meeting of the Advisory Forum, established as part of the outworking of the new Apprenticeship Strategy for Northern Ireland – Securing our Success, the Minister handed over the chair to Bryan Keating, Managing Partner of the CIP Partnership and Chair of Matrix, the Northern Ireland Science Industry Panel.

Speaking after the meeting which was held at Belfast Metropolitan College Titanic campus, Dr Farry said: “Apprenticeships offer an excellent opportunity to transform the skills landscape in Northern Ireland and facilitate economic and social progress. It is essential that we now move forward with delivery, in particular the piloting and testing of the new system we have outlined within Securing our Success.

“For our new model to be successful, it is essential that stakeholders continue to play a central role in the development and delivery of the new system.

“The Strategic Advisory Forum will place employers in the lead role providing advice across all aspects of apprenticeship provision as we move towards the introduction of the new system of apprenticeships in 2016. I welcome Bryan Keating to his role as chair in driving this new model forward.”

The Minister established the Advisory Forum, which first met in December, to provide advice and guidance on how key elements of the reformed apprenticeship system will be delivered in Northern Ireland. At the initial meeting the interim Forum agreed to establish sub groups to examine the need for legislation to underpin the new system, and determine the optimum means to support small and micro businesses to encourage a greater uptake of apprenticeships.

The second meeting focused on updates from the sub groups on the legislative approach and support for small and micro businesses, along with a presentation from the Northern Ireland Centre for Economic Policy on the skills barometer which aims to provide a sector by sector analysis on current and future skills needs.

The Advisory Forum is a partnership between employers, training providers, trade unions and government.

It is anticipated that the interim Advisory Forum will be in place until September 2016.