Policy Forum for Northern Ireland

Priorities for skills and apprenticeships in Northern Ireland: key issues for business, developing partnerships and the future for policy

Morning, Thursday, 3rd May 2018

Hilton Belfast, 4 Lanyon Place, Belfast BT1 3LP


This timely seminar assesses priorities for skills and apprenticeships policy in Northern Ireland, particularly in the continued absence of a devolved assembly.

It is structured to bring out the latest thinking on what is needed to support key sectors in Northern Ireland, as well as examining priorities for meeting the skills needs to support the Belfast City Region Deal - all in the UK-wide context of the Industrial Strategy.

Those attending will also discuss the initial impact of the apprenticeship levy on employers, and examine key priorities for businesses as they support apprentices and help deliver apprenticeship policy.

Delegates will discuss the further steps that can be taken for the development of effective pathways to apprenticeships - including the development of partnerships between schools, further and higher education institutions, training providers and employers - and consider the challenges for creating high-quality and flexible qualification, including degree apprenticeships.

Further sessions will examine opportunities created by apprenticeships for promoting diversity and social mobility, including the roles of further education, apprenticeship providers and employers - and how best to meet the needs of apprentices.

Keynote Speakers

Dr Lutz-Peter Berg

Head of Science & Innovation (UK, Ireland, Nordic Countries), Embassy of Switzerland in the United Kingdom

Justin Edwards

Chief Executive, CCEA


Caoimhe Archibald MLA

Vice Chairperson, All Party Group on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics

Dr Steve Aiken MLA

Vice-Chairperson, All Party Group on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics


Laura Young

Senior Associate, PwC

Tina McKenzie

Group Managing Director, PeoplePlus NI

Stephanie Gowdy

Student Recruitment Lead, PwC

Colin Hagan

Managing Director, Riverpark Training

Trevor Johnston

Head, Employer Engagement, Queen’s University Belfast

Gareth Hetherington

Director, Ulster University Economic Policy Centre

Sam Davidson

Chair, Employment and Skills Forum, CBI and Group HR Director, Henderson Group

Sinead O’Regan

Economic Development Manager, Economic Development Unit, Belfast City Council

Senior speaker confirmed from Institution of Civil Engineers

Brian Doran

Principal and Chief Executive, Southern Regional College and Chair, College Principals’ Group

Senior speaker confirmed from Colleges NI