Investing in the skills and talent of our workforce is absolutely vital for economic success. That was the message from former Economy Minister Diane Dodds as she launched Skills for a 10X Economy — the Department for the Economy’s strategy to support more people to improve their job prospects and fulfil their economic potential.
The strategy is a key pillar of the 10X Economic Vision for Northern Ireland, which the former Minister published earlier this month. The skills strategy outlines plans to focus on innovation by increasing further education qualifications in technical and professional skills and rebalancing higher education towards Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM).
Diane Dodds said: “My ambition is to transform Northern Ireland into one of the world’s elite small open economies and skills are crucial to achieving this goal. I cannot overstate this.
“We already have a talented workforce, but we need to capitalise on it. Investing in our skills and talent will deliver more and better job opportunities, greater earning potential, better individual wellbeing and, in turn, an improved overall economy.”
She continued: “Skills for a 10X Economy’ sets out a plan to deliver significant growth in qualifications in technical and professional skills through further education. By doing this we will grow in the key strategic areas that are vital to our economic ambitions as set out in 10X Economic Vision.
“Alongside this, we will seek to rebalance graduate and postgraduate qualifications in higher education towards STEM subjects, which are so crucial for boosting innovation and equipping us for the jobs of the future.
“The strategy will also tackle inequality by supporting people with low or no qualifications to overcome the barriers to employment and making the most of their capabilities.”
Stakeholders and the public are invited to review the proposed skills strategy and give their views as it is launched for public consultation.
She added: “I want to hear from everyone who has a view on what Northern Ireland’s future skills base should look like — please engage with the consultation and make your voice heard on how we can deliver better skills, better jobs and better lives.”
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