Get ready for work­place of the fu­ture as Skills NI hits Belfast

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - NI Job Finder - BY STAFF RE­PORTER Skills NI takes place to­mor­row and Thurs­day in Ti­tanic Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre, Belfast To find out more, visit www.skill­ NIE Net­works, NI Wa­ter, Bar­clays and the Depart­ment for the Econ­omy are spon­sor­ing the event

ONE of the most sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tions busi­nesses can make to sup­port young peo­ple in school and col­lege is around ca­reers ad­vice and work in­spi­ra­tion, ac­cord­ing to a sur­vey by the CBI.

With this in mind, the doors will open to­mor­row on North­ern Ire­land’s big­gest ca­reers fair — a one-stop expo and in­ter­ac­tive ex­pe­ri­ence for young­sters look­ing for ca­reers in­spi­ra­tion and in­for­ma­tion.

Skills North­ern Ire­land at the Ti­tanic Ex­hi­bi­tion Cen­tre to­mor­row and Thurs­day, is aimed at 14 to 19-year-olds, their par­ents, their teach­ers and their in­flu­encers, to help en­lighten them about jobs and ca­reers choices, ap­pren­tice­ships, cour­ses, grow­ing in­dus­try sec­tors and train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties.

The event will launch with a Busi­ness Break­fast at Belfast Met’s Ti­tanic Quar­ter Cam­pus, with speak­ers in­clud­ing Tommy O’reilly, deputy sec­re­tary for Ed­u­ca­tion and Chil­dren’s Ser­vices at the Depart­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion, Gor­don Parkes, HR di­rec­tor at NIE Net­works, and Dr Deirdre Hughes, chair­per­son of Skills NI.

And the ex­hi­bi­tion will fea­ture more than 80 or­gan­i­sa­tions and over 8,000 pre-booked visi­tors over the two days.

Dr Hughes said: “North­ern Ire­land is lead­ing the way in how we ed­u­cate young peo­ple in a fast-chang­ing econ­omy. Busi­nesses, ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing providers com­ing to­gether is ex­cit­ing and es­sen­tial for our na­tion’s fu­ture pros­per­ity.

“We need to give more in­sights to the world of work, share op­por­tu­ni­ties and pro­vide young peo­ple with a sense of hope and op­ti­mism for their fu­ture lives.

“Skills NI is a fan­tas­tic way to show how we com­bine learn­ing and its rel­e­vance to the world of work. It taps into start­ing early with ca­reer con­ver­sa­tions, tack­ling any mis­con­cep­tions and pro­vid­ing in­spi­ra­tion, in­for­ma­tion and role mod­els.”

Gabrielle Mce­vans, project man­ager of Skills NI, said: “For com­pa­nies wish­ing to tar­get young peo­ple as re­cruits, stu­dents, em­ploy­ees, ap­pren­tices, cus­tomers or their par­ents, fam­i­lies or teach­ers, then Skills NI is the ideal plat­form to en­gage with them.

“In the Get Skilled area, young peo­ple can have a go at lots of dif­fer­ent skills, and dis­cover new tal­ents. They can learn to be a zookeeper by han­dling real-life an­i­mals, find out if they’ve got what it takes to be­come a news­reader in the BBC’S mock news stu­dio, try their hand as an NIE en­gi­neer, us­ing Vir­tual Re­al­ity tech­nol­ogy to ex­pe­ri­ence the dizzy heights of elec­tric­ity en­gi­neer­ing whilst climb­ing up a vir­tual pole or give a safety demon­stra­tion to pas­sen­gers be­fore their flight with the avi­a­tion stu­dents from Belfast Met.”

NIE Net­works is the event’s head­line spon­sor and its HR di­rec­tor, Gor­don Parkes, said: “We are pleased to be head­line spon­sor of this im­por­tant ca­reers event to show­case the ca­reers avail­able in the mar­ket­place.

“It is ex­tremely im­por­tant to our so­ci­ety and our econ­omy that young peo­ple pos­sess the skills re­quired by em­ploy­ers.

“The cur­rent po­si­tion is far from sat­is­fac­tory with many em- ploy­ers un­able to source in­di­vid­u­als with the ap­pro­pri­ate skills and nu­mer­ous young peo­ple still un­em­ployed.

“There is cer­tainly a ‘skills mis­match’, which needs to be ad­dressed col­lec­tively through an in­te­grated ap­proach led by em­ploy­ers and sup­ported by lo­cal gov­ern­ment, schools, col­leges and uni­ver­si­ties.

“NIE Net­works pro­vides highly qual­i­fied skilled ap­pren­tice­ships and grad­u­ate pro­grammes, how­ever, each year we strug­gle to ob­tain the re­quired num­bers to take up th­ese po­si­tions.”

Many em­ploy­ers are see­ing the ben­e­fits — and school leavers are see­ing the ap­peal of a rapidly ex­pand­ing range of earn-whileyou-learn ap­pren­tice­ship op­por- tu­ni­ties in new ar­eas in­clud­ing ac­coun­tancy, soft­ware en­gi­neer­ing and elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing.

Dr Ali­son Sweeney of NI Wa­ter said: “In 2017 we saw an in­take of 12 ap­pren­tice­ships to NI Wa­ter and we’re de­lighted to be at­tend­ing Skills NI again as it pro­vides us with an ex­cel­lent plat­form to show­case our ap­pren­tice­ship ca­pa­bil­i­ties and fore­cast the po­ten­tial for our ap­pren­tice in­take in 2018.”

A stu­dent on the NI Wa­ter stand at the Skills NI event

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