From education to employment

Skills Shortages are Tackled

Lifelong Learning UK(LLUK) for Northern Ireland was officially launched in Belfast on October 5th.

The organisation, which represents employers from across the spectrum of post-16 learning, is committed to raising the quality of education and training available to young people and adults. It aims to do this by increasing the skills of teachers and other learning professionals.

LLUK is one of 25 sector skills councils set up through Skills for Businesses. The employers represented range from higher education and work-based learning to libraries and archives. The sector employs more than one million people across the UK. In Northern Ireland this will amount to 28,000, approximately 4 per cent of the entire workforce.

LLUK’s chief executive, David Hunter, spoke to more than 100 guests of the developing work that LLUK was to accomplish. He said: “LLUK will give employers in lifelong learning a voice that will enable us to truly represent our workforce in shaping the challenging agenda that is facing is.” With it now operating across the UK, LLUK embraces the contrasting needs and challenges facing learning professionals in all four countries.

Knock on Effect to the Wider Workforce

The Chair of the LLUK, John Hedger, is confident of the support from employers eager to tackle skills gaps and hard-to-fill vacancies. “By offering employers in the wider economy a better skilled workforce, we can help Northern Ireland to compete more effectively internationally,” he said.

The organisation is keen to encourage mobility within the sector. Mr Hedger added: “There must be fewer barriers to mobility so that more people can build careers within lifelong learning.”

Director of the East Down Institute of Further and Higher Education, Mr Tom Place, will chair the LLUK’s Northern Ireland panel. He already chairs the Association of Northern Ireland Colleges. He feels that staff within lifelong learning need to be in a better position to offer training to more employers.

LLUK’s Northern Ireland National Performance Manager, Alan Clarke said: “We look forward to implementing our work plans with the help of a strong Northern Ireland panel.”

Angela Balakrishnan

What next for LLUK? Tell us in the FE Blog

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