New Higher Level Apprenticeships at Council Bring New Employment Opportunities
Newry Mourne and Down District Council is helping enhance the skills and employability of people in the district through a major new partnership with local further education colleges.
A Higher Level Apprenticeship scheme is now underway, with three students in employment with the Council over the next two-and-a-half-years.
Higher Level Apprenticeships (HLAs) are relatively new qualifications, which provide an opportunity to gain quality training and a recognised higher qualification while in paid employment.
They also offer students an alternative route to degree level qualifications, should they wish to pursue further education.
A key theme of the Council’s Economic Development and Regeneration Strategy launched last year is skills and employability.
The aim is to assist Business and Education to work better together to address challenges in the labour market and best match market demands.
It is also one of the aims of the Newry Mourne and Down Labour Market Partnership, which the Council manages, to promote apprenticeships as a beneficial pathway to employment.
Two of the current positions in Newry Mourne and Down District Council are within the field of Digital Marketing, Advertising and Communications, with a third position in Construction and Built Environment. The apprentices spend most of their working week with the Council, while also regularly attending College and completing assignments that form part of their qualification.
Newry Mourne and Down District Council Deputy Chairperson, Councillor Aoife Finnegan, recently met with the new apprentices to welcome them to Council.
Cllr Finnegan said: “Through our work with the Newry Mourne and Down Labour Market Partnership we are keen to showcase apprenticeships and higher level apprenticeships as an alternative learning and skills development opportunity leading to a valuable career path.
“It is our hope that apprentices will gain the skills that employers need and that are relevant to the local economy as well as improving their own prospects of good earnings and sustained employment.
“This partnership between the Council and our local further educational colleges has clear mutual benefits.
“The apprentices gain highly prized real and sustained experience in the workplace, while also being carefully mentored. And as a Council we benefit from their specific insight and new ideas. This is a two-way process.
“I look forward to hearing how the work of the apprentices develops over the coming months, with a view to expanding the scheme further in coming years.”
Tracy Rice, Head of Business Engagement from Southern Regional College (SRC), said: “At SRC we value our wide range of industry links and following close partnership working we are delighted to see the Higher Level Apprenticeship scheme established at Newry Mourne and Down District Council.
“I know our apprentices are already benefiting from their workplace experience, and it is that real-life workplace experience combined with first class education opportunities that will be an attractive proposition to future employers.”
Don Walsh, Assistant Training Programmes Manager with South Eastern Regional College, said: “At SERC we aim to offer our students a career enhancing experience in which they work on live projects with real businesses.