The Assured Skills Programme plays an important role in developing a highly effective skills pipeline for new and growing businesses in Northern Ireland.
It is a short, demand-led, pre-employment training programme, delivered through an Assured Skills Academy model. Fully funded by the Department for the Economy, the programme helps upskill individuals to prepare them to compete for guaranteed job vacancies in new Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) companies and expanding businesses.
Training is undertaken at further education colleges and universities. The Academies run for approximately 6-8 weeks and participants receive a £150 weekly training allowance (this will increase to £155 per week from 1st April 2021), along with travel expenses and help with childcare costs where appropriate.
Working with companies such as Microsoft, PwC, FinTru, Deloitte, KPMG, Alchemy, Aflac and other new and growing businesses, the Assured Skills Academy model ensures that those who succesfully complete the Academy are 'work ready.' The participants are provided with an insight into the work of their potential employer, whilst also learning transferable skills. If any participant is unsuccessful in gaining employment with the participating company, they will still have gained additional skills that are recognised within that sector in Northern Ireland.
Since the programme was first introduced as a pilot in 2011, it has delivered training Academies in areas (amongst others) such as:
- professional software development
- software testing
- software engineering
- cyber security
- financial services
- legal services
Over the years the programme has evolved and gone from strength to strength, upskilling over 385 people last year (2019/20), with over 305 securing jobs. During 2019/20 Assured Skills delivered a total of 22 Academies, with two of those having recruitment paused because of the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
When restrictions were imposed the Assured Skills team reacted quicky to the needs of business and working closely with both further and higher education training providers, successfully transitioned from classroom-based learning to delivering online Academies. Companies have been very encouraged by this new way of remote learning and the online Academies offer new career paths to those whose jobs have been impacted by Covid-19.
The programme welcomes applications from unemployed and underemployed applicants who meet the entry criteria for each Academy and has been hugely successful with 80% of Academy participants going on to secure employment.
Online Academies are continuing throughout the pandemic and in this financial year 22 Academies are at various stages of delivery with 247 participants already employed from the 13 academies that have been completed to date. Training has covered varied areas such as data analytics, cyber security, artificial intelligence, financial services, consultancy and welding.
Training is about to start for Academies with Microsoft for Modern Applications Development and an Artificial Intelligence Academy with KPMG. Unfortunately applications for these Academies have already closed but more are planned for later this year.
There are currently two Academies open for applications.
Deloitte Transformation, Finance and Technology Academy
The Transformation, Finance and Technology Academy is a four-week virtual training programme delivered by Belfast Met. It will provide 25 graduates with the skills and experience required to potentially take up exciting positions within Deloitte's Transformation Services and Financial Controller Group Belfast-based teams.
More information at:
FinTru Financial Services North-West Academy
The Financial Services Academy is a four-week intensive training course delivered through an online virtual classroom. The Academy will provide practical, real world training in various areas of business services including compliance, legal, risk and operations. Those who complete the course will be guaranteed a job interview with FinTru to potentially join their North-West Centre of Excellence.
More information at:
|Training Programme||Company||Location||Closing Date For Applications|
|Transformation, Finance and Technology Academy||Deloitte||Belfast||21 March 2021|
|Financial Services North West Academy||FinTru||Derry/ Londonderry||31 March 2021|
More information about the Assured Skills Programme and all of the currently available Academies is at: