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Higher education and the creative industries will play a key role in Northern Ireland’s future skills landscape, Economy Minister Diane Dodds has said.

The Minister was speaking after she visited Ulster University’s Belfast campus to talk to fashion students and view their work. Earlier this week the Minister launched ‘Skills for a 10X Economy’, a strategy to support more people to improve their job prospects and fulfil their economic potential.

The Minister said: “The development of our local skills base will be a cornerstone of the post-pandemic recovery and is an area I am passionate about.

“We need our people to be equipped for the jobs and opportunities of the future, in a diverse range of fields. The strength and vibrancy of the screen industries sector here has seen a boom in demand for the skills needed to create film and television productions, and I am eager to help people capitalise on that.

“Indeed as part of the Belfast Region City Deal we are finalising an exciting and significant new Screen Media Innovation Lab project, investing millions of pounds. This will see us further build on the opportunities and skills base arising from the screen industries.

“I was very pleased to have the opportunity to visit Ulster University’s Belfast campus and see the fantastic work the university’s students and staff are doing in creative fields like fashion design. I know from visiting a number of film production locations recently that this is a highly skilled – and highly rewarding – area of expertise.

“Furthermore, the wider higher education sector is absolutely vital to Northern Ireland’s future economy. In my 10X Economic Vision and associated skills strategy, there is a strong focus on innovation and priority clusters where Northern Ireland can be a global leader, and realising this vision will require a pipeline of graduates in a range of fields.

“Our local universities are renowned across the world. They are a key factor in the decision by inward investors to locate in Northern Ireland, and they will be a core component of our future skills landscape.”

The Minister added: “The skills strategy, ‘Skills for a 10X Economy’, is open for public consultation and I encourage anyone with an interest in this key facet of the recovery and future economy to engage with the consultation and feed in their views.”

Louise O’Boyle, Head of the Belfast School of Art at Ulster University, said: “We were delighted to welcome the Minister to our enhanced Belfast campus. The campus will be a catalyst for development in the creative industries. We will deliver bespoke, academic-led and industry informed programmes designed to address the skills gap in this sector in order to build a strong pipeline of talent to attract global players and to provide opportunities for the regional creative industries workforce.”

The skills strategy consultation document is available in both summary and full-length versions at:

The consultation is available at: