Lyons announces new Assured Skills Academy in welding at South West College

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons today launched a new Assured Skills Collaborative Welding Academy at South West College, with 12 training places.

By Gordon Lyons MLA

East Antrim

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The Assured Skills Collaborative Academy 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 Academy are guaranteed an interview for a welding position at one of 11 companies in Dungannon and the surrounding area.

Announcing the Academy, the Minister said: “The Mid Ulster area has a strong and resilient manufacturing and engineering sector which makes an important contribution to our economy. This Assured Skills Academy with South West College, the third in a series of seven welding Academies, underlines my Department’s commitment to developing the skills that are needed in this area. People with welding skills are in high demand in our local engineering and manufacturing sector.

“Assured Skills Academies equip participants with the skills they need, 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. This latest pre-employment Assured Skills Collaborative Academy, the third of seven, is a means of attracting new people to the sector by providing a great opportunity for them 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.”

Mid-Ulster Manufacturing and Engineering Growth and Advancement (MEGA) Chair Darragh Cullen said: “This builds on the momentum provided by the Department’s commitment to invest over the remainder of the financial year to support the industry in addressing the welding skills gap for growing companies in the local area. We know how closely South West College has worked with the companies to ensure that participants secure the exact skills that are needed to start in the industry and to support the development of a sustainable pipeline of skills to support immediate and medium term solutions.”

Applications are open now and close at noon on Friday 6 August. For more information and to apply, visit

Training for successful applicants will commence on Monday 6 September and run until Friday 15 October.

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