Derry City & Strabane - Apprenticeships offer way forward for both employers and job seekers




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Apprenticeships offer way forward for both employers and job seekers

02 February 2023

Apprenticeships could offer the answer to job seekers and students seeking a pathway into employment as well as employers looking for staff they can help to develop the right skills for the job, is the message behind a new campaign by the Derry and Strabane Labour Market Partnership (DSLMP).

Headed up by Derry City and Strabane District Council working alongside a range of local partners, the DSLMP issued the call today to both business owners and potential employees, looking ahead to NI Apprenticeship Week, taking place from February 6th – 10th.

The Apprenticeship Programme, is funded by the Department for Communities through their Labour Market Partnership initiative, it offers individuals the opportunity to earn while they learn, gaining recognised qualifications within a wide range of sectors including construction, engineering, hospitality, healthcare, food and drink, youth work and even a variety of production positions.

Apprentices can gain qualifications from level 2 (GCSE level) to level 4 or 5 (Foundation Degree level), boosting their career prospects. No matter what qualifications participants currently have, pathways are available for an apprenticeship suited to them. They will be given the chance to work towards completing their qualifications through either onsite delivery or day release, with a recognised training provider, and will pick up the skills that employers actually need.

Launching the campaign this week, Mayor of Derry and Strabane, Councillor Sandra Duffy, said apprenticeships offered a pragmatic approach to learning and employment. “I am delighted to launch the campaign to encourage both employers and job seekers to explore the opportunities on offer through apprenticeships. I am really impressed by the range of areas which now offer paid for opportunities for people seeking to learn new skills.

“The Apprenticeship Programme is ideal in that it caters to the demands of employers as well as the needs of anyone looking for a new career in today’s challenging times. Not everyone can take on the financial burden of full time education and this is the perfect solution, offering support and a clear pathway into employment. I would really like to see more local businesses signing up for the programme and availing of the many benefits.”

A number of local businesses have already signed up to the scheme, including acclaimed local restaurant Browns. Chef patron, Ian Orr, who is co-owner of the Browns collection of award winning establishments and Ardtara Country House, said: “Anyone working in the hospitality industry would definitely benefit from the apprenticeship programme. As an employer we can ensure we are gaining the skilled staff we need who are learning within a workplace environment where they can gain the knowledge and experience to make them a real asset to the business. I would really recommend the programme to any employer struggling to find the right people to join their team.”

Whether you are a start-up, micro-business, large corporate or an SME, looking to increase productivity or fill skills gaps, employing apprentices can have a positive impact on your business. For many it’s the obvious choice when it comes to building a skilled and sustainable workforce, where new starts are more likely to remain with a supportive and encouraging employer.

Speaking on behalf of the Derry and Strabane Labour Market Partnership, Nicky Gilleece, LMP Manager, wants to highlight the importance of apprenticeships for both young people and employers in the Council area. “Council is working proactively with a number of education providers, private training organisations and companies to encourage people to avail of apprenticeship opportunities across the Council area,” she explained.

“The benefits for young people and employers are significant, but don’t take our word for it, take the word of the young people and employers who have and are going through the apprenticeship system on”

Northern Ireland Apprentice Week runs from 6th – 10th February with lots of events happening throughout the City & District. Check out  Find out more about more about the apprenticeship programme visit