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Economy Minister Diane Dodds has launched the first two, of up to seven, new Assured Skills Collaborative Welding Academies at South West College, with 24 training places.

The Assured Skills Collaborative Academies will see successful applicants receive industry-standard welding training, during a six-week course at South West College’s new industry training facility in Cookstown.

Participants who complete the Academies are guaranteed an interview for a welding positon at one of eight companies in the Dungannon area.

Announcing the Academies the Minister said: “The Mid Ulster area retains a strong and resilient manufacturing and engineering sector which makes an important contribution to our economy. This significant package of skills support for the sector shows my commitment to addressing the need for welders in a range of companies in the local area.”

Highlighting the opportunity, the Minister said: “The first two Assured Skills Collaborative Welding Academies are now open for applications.

“These Academies will be the first of up to seven to be delivered in the coming year which will, in total, provide training opportunities for up to 84 people at South West College’s new dedicated training facility in Cookstown, which was funded by my Department.

“People with welding skills are in high demand in our local engineering and manufacturing sector. These Assured Skills Collaborative Academies will equip participants with these skills through an industry-recognised qualification and position them very strongly to kick-start a new career in welding. No experience in welding is required – I urge anyone who is interested to apply.”

Participants on the Academy will study ETCAL Level 2 Performing Engineering Operations and Certified Abrasive Wheels Training.

Ciaran McManus, Assistant Chief Executive of South West College, said:

“Engineering is a major sector of employment in the south west region. The college is committed to working in partnership with local employers to help them attract, develop and nurture new talent. These new pre-employment Assured Skills Collaborative Academies provide a means of attracting new people to the sector by providing a great opportunity for people in the area to gain new skills and a potential offer of employment.

“We are particularly pleased to be delivering these Assured Skills Collaborative Academies in our new welding training facility at SWC and look forward to welcoming successful applicants to the Academy on board.”

Welcoming the series of Academies, the industry-led collaborative network, Mid-Ulster Manufacturing and Engineering Growth and Advancement (MEGA) Chair Darragh Cullen said: “Today’s announcement has the potential to be a major step forward in addressing the welding skills gap for growing companies in the local area. Engagement with government, training providers and employers is key to getting the right training in place to meet the industry’s immediate need for a variety of job functions. This commitment to deliver up to seven Academies is a very positive development for the area as it will help us all to develop a sustainable pipeline of skills to help meet the immediate skills shortages and supports medium term solutions.”

Training will be delivered in two separate cohorts of 12:

  • Cohort 1 – Monday 14 June to Friday 23 July 2021
  • Cohort 2 – Monday 26 July 2021 to Friday 3 September 2021

These dates may change depending on the situation with Covid-19.

More information on the South West College Assured Skills Welding Academy and details of how to apply are available at http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/assured-skills

Applications close at noon on Friday 14 May 2021.