Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry today launched the 2016 Apprentice of the Year competition.
Nominations are now open for the three award categories; Apprentice of the Year Award, Higher Level Apprentice of the Year Award and the Innovation in Partnership Award for Employers and Training Suppliers.
Speaking at the launch, Minister Farry said: “I would encourage apprentices, employers and training partners to enter this prestigious competition. These awards are an opportunity to recognise those who are excelling in their apprenticeships and those companies who are investing in the skills of their workforce and I am pleased to announce an additional category this year, the Higher Level Apprentice Award.
“The NI Strategy for Apprenticeships aims to deliver gold standard apprenticeships which will form part of the new skills landscape and the new Higher Level Apprentice Award will recognise those excelling in this new area of learning. The new apprenticeship model is currently being piloted and will be introduced in September 2016. Apprenticeships offer the opportunity to build knowledge and skills, gain a qualification and earn money and will play a vital role in growing our local economy.
“With currently over 6,500 apprentices and over 250 Higher Level Apprentices in Northern Ireland working across a diverse range of industry and business sectors, apprenticeships are proving to be a popular route to a successful career.” The introduction of High Level Apprenticeships is transforming the professional and technical curriculum landscape in Northern Ireland. This new system of High Level Apprenticeships is extending to a wide range of occupational areas, while at the same time facilitating progression up the skills ladder from level 3 (A Level) to level 8 (Doctorate).
These much coveted awards are designed to recognise people involved in apprenticeship training in Northern Ireland, including: employers, training suppliers and the apprentices themselves.
For more information on the Apprentice of the Year Awards or to download nomination forms visit: http://www.delni.gov.uk/aotyawards
The closing date for applications forms is noon, Friday 5 February 2016.
The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Titanic Suite, Belfast, on Wednesday 20 April 2016. The 2016 Apprentice of the Year Awards are sponsored by Fujitsu and City and Guilds. The ApprenticeshipsNI programme is part financed by the European Social Fund.