First workers to benefit from skills initiative complete work-based training scheme

A Northern Ireland minister has hailed the success of a skills initiative which has helped employees learn core service engineering skills.

Employment and Learning Minister Sir Reg Empey said that it was crucial that employers continued to focus on training during the recession.

He was speaking at an Stormont event attended by the first students of the Essential Skills initiative.

Empey said:"The future success of our economy depends on our ability to develop new or improve existing skills. Engaging in programmes such as Essential Skills will ensure that we, as a progressive economy, are prepared for the upturn."

Essential Skills is a learning programme designed for the workplace, that alows students to achieve a Level 1 or Level 2 qualification in ICT.

The qualification helps workers progress in electrotechnical, heating and ventilating, air conditioning, refrigeration and plumbing industries

Keith Marshall, chief executive of SummitSkills, which backs the programme, said: “The Essential Skills initiative is designed to help employees learn core skills that will ultimately help their career development and allow them to contribute to their employers’ performance. We congratulate this first wave of learners today.”