COVID-19: Support for NEETs

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Economy – in the Northern Ireland Assembly at 2:00 pm on 29th September 2020.

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Photo of Diane Dodds Diane Dodds DUP 2:00 pm, 29th September 2020

I am extremely concerned about the 20% of the workforce who have no formal qualifications. It is an issue that the Assembly and the Executive will have to address in the long term. In the short term, we have been working with adults and with everyone, really, who has been affected by the impact of COVID on their employment. Our skills strategy division has been able to support 2,000 individuals impacted by COVID-19, helping them to achieve one of over 90 online fully accredited qualifications in key areas including digital, leadership, management and employability. A second phase of the programme will complete by March 2021. We hope that it will support a further 3,000 individuals, including those who have been furloughed or made redundant or who are availing of the self-employment scheme. It will include collaborative approaches from further education on placement and to support women to return and get training in information technology. That is work that the Department is already engaged in and fully cognisant of.