Sinn Féin Mid-Ulster MP, Francie Molloy called for the establishment of a training faculty of excellence dedicated to the engineering sector to locate in Mid-Ulster.
Mr Molloy was speaking following the launch by Employment Minister Stephen Farry today of the second phase of the ‘Qualifying the Existing Workforce’ initiative at the Construction Industry Training Board NI (CITB) Nutts Corner Training Centre.
“I welcome the success of this up-skilling joint initiative by the Department and CITB and call on the Minister to establish a similar project with stakeholders in the engineering sector particularly in the Mid-Ulster area,” he said.
“At a recent meeting I pressed the Employment Minister to provide additional engineering training facilities in the constituency as there is a shortage of skilled trainees to meet the needs of local engineering firms.
“South east Tyrone and Mid Ulster has over 150 engineering firms. Many of these have indicated the need to recruit employees in other European countries because of the shortage of training provision locally to meet their needs. The local sand, gravel extraction and washing process in particular has led the way in innovation and development in the industry.
“Many of these local firms contribute to our growing export trade and deserve government attention to ensure the supply of a well-trained and skilled work force.
“There is a golden opportunity in the engineering sector to provide ongoing training for existing employees and provide excellent prospects to those school leavers entering the workforce as well as the long-term unemployed.
“When I spoke to the Minister he committed to consult with the local South West College and Northern Regional College to review the current training provision. I will be contacting the Minister to find out if he has initiated the review and where it stands.
“I believe that given the number of world leader engineering companies in the Mid-Ulster constituency that a case exists for the establishment of a dedicated engineering training faculty of excellence similar to the Nutts Corner Training Centre at one of the local college campus.
”I believe that such a facility located in the Mid-Ulster constituency would serve the needs of the sector throughout the North and border counties.”