Employability and Skills

The BRCD investment will support efforts to rebalance our local economy by building on our competitive strengths, increasing productivity and supporting the creation of more and better jobs. However, for it to succeed it will be critical that the right skills are in place to enable people to avail of the opportunities arising from this investment and that pro-active measures are put in place so that the opportunities emerging reach as wide a range of people as possible - a fundamental aspect of City / Growth deals across the UK.  

The BRCD partners will therefore work together to align our plans and resources in the following priority areas to help prepare an appropriately skilled workforce that can benefit from the employment opportunities that will emerge as a result of the transformative investments in innovation and digital, tourism, regeneration and infrastructure. 

A strategic delivery framework has been created for the BRCD Employability and Skills Programme. It has been designed to address both the needs of individuals seeking to enter the workforce and those who recognise a need to upskill or reskill in order to continue to avail of opportunities within the labour market.  The framework integrates a suite of interventions grouped across three thematic areas of: 

Skills for Growth 

Working with employers to align skills programmes and employment opportunities with the growth in sectors supported by BRCD; helping to create new apprenticeship pathways and fostering development of higher-level skills. 

We will: 

  • inform the development of new skills pathways in priority sectors   
  • support the future proofing of the apprenticeship system to support new employment, including public sector opportunities  
  • support efforts to address skills imbalances specifically at mid-tier skills level  
  • deliver targeted approaches aligned to BRCD ambitions in priority sectors and support inclusive growth through our partners 

Skills for Inclusion 

Creating opportunities to address skills imbalances and improve access to employment opportunities across the region through socially inclusive progression pathways.  Local Councils will undertake a leading role in delivering interventions on a local area basis, connecting local residents to entry level employment opportunities and addressing barriers to employment.  Through collaboration with the Department for Communities, Local Councils will utilise the opportunity of Local Labour Market Partnerships working alongside BRCD partners, to ensure alignment with both local needs and Belfast Region priorities.  

We will: 

  • create awareness and access to BRCD opportunities   
  • focus on supporting unemployed people (including those furthest from the labour market) to move closer to and into employment   
  • deliver employer-led approaches through employment academies and new programmes    
  • enable inclusive growth by stimulating employers to create new and innovative pathways into priority sectors 

Skills for a Digital Future 

Helping to build our digital literacy from grassroots up and enhancing the digital transformation of businesses across the region, with a specific focus upon smaller enterprises. 

We will: 

  • inform and, through partners, deliver essential digital skills across the region     
  • support the City Deal ambitions of delivering digitally driven innovation     
  • support and advocate for a suite of provision to support essential digital skills and job specific digital skills    
  • facilitate inclusive growth by supporting the creation of employment pathways into the digital sector or into digitally focused occupations   
  • increase the pace and scale of digital transformation amongst the region’s small business community 

Digital Futures 

The impact of Covid-19 further underlined the need to harness collective effort and investment in digital technology. Early in 2020, a Digital ‘Task and Finish’ group was established by the BRCD partners to consider how to support an inclusive and sustainable recovery.

Arising from this work, Further Education Colleges, working with industry partners, and supported by funding from the Department for the Economy, delivered the Digital Futures Programme, an innovative skill development and work experience initiative providing unemployed and under employed graduates the opportunity to reskill in relevant digital skills, including Cloud Computing, Data Analytics or Cyber Security.