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15th Jan 2013

Drive to build firm business Foundations

A Foundation degree can boost skills, career prospects and employability.


That is the message at the heart of a new advertising campaign to promote the benefits of Foundation degrees to employers and learners.


Launching the campaign Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry said:


“Foundation degrees are higher education qualifications that combine academic study with on-the-job experience. This mix can help boost students’ skills and career prospects whilst benefiting employers and their business. Employers are fully involved in the design, development and delivery of the courses. This means Foundation degree students graduate with a very specialised set of skills designed to meet the specific needs of employers in a particular sector.”


He continued: “Foundation degrees help learners to improve their career prospects by equipping them with the academic knowledge and sector specific skills required to progress in the workplace.”


A Foundation degree is a recognised Higher Education qualification and offers a progression route to an Honours degree at University.


During the launch, the Minister met with representatives of Core Systems, a Belfast based software development company who are advocates of the Foundation Degree qualification.


Core have taken two Foundation degree work placement students every year since 2008 and have subsequently employed six of these students in permanent full-time positions following their graduation. As a result, almost a quarter of their current workforce are former Foundation degree work placement students.


Core Systems Director Patricia O’Hagan said: “Core Systems have found to their advantage that hosting Foundation degree work placement students acts as a cost-effective way of recruiting new talented members of staff. The work placements allow Core to train the students in the very specialised skills that we need, allowing students to gain vital experience relevant to Core’s business. The students join us on a work placement and remain on our team throughout their degree studies. The combination of their studies and real life production experience develops excellent software experience and most of our students remain with Core Systems after graduation.”


The campaign will run across a variety of media platforms and will focus on informing employers about the various ways they can get involved with Foundation Degrees and the potential benefits to their organisations. The campaign will also inform employees about the up-skilling and re-skilling benefits of Foundation degrees.


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