Lyons launches Assured Skills Welding Academy at Northern Regional College

Economy Minister Gordon Lyons today visited Northern Regional College (NRC) to launch a new Assured Skills Collaborative Welding Academy, with 12 training places.

By Gordon Lyons MLA

East Antrim

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Successful applicants to the Academy will receive industry standard welding training that will provide them with the skills to take up potential welding roles with one of six companies in Ballymoney, Ballymena and the surrounding area. Applications will open on Monday 15 November.

Highlighting the opportunity after his visit to NRC’s Farm Lodge campus in Ballymena, the Minister said: “I am very pleased to launch this Assured Skills Welding Academy with NRC and in collaboration with six fabrication and engineering companies in the local area.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for anyone seeking to start, or change, career and learn skills that are in high demand. I urge anyone who is interested and eligible to apply.”

The Minister continued: “My Department’s Assured Skills programme has a successful track record of getting participants on these Academies into employment. The Academies also provide a pipeline of skilled people for local employers. This financial year we plan to deliver up to 16 Collaborative Welding Academies offering a maximum of 192 training places with further education colleges and companies across Northern Ireland.

“Since the Collaborative Welding Academies started in April 2018, 188 people have participated on the Academies and of those, 141 were successfully upskilled and 114 secured employment.

“Despite the challenges for businesses during the pandemic, last year, Assured Skills delivered 27 academies, 508 participants were upskilled and 470 gained employment in 2020/21.

“This year a total of over 40 academies are planned and so far 221 people have been upskilled with 207 gaining employment to kick-start their careers in areas such as financial services, IT and manufacturing.”

Participants on the Academy will receive five weeks of industry standard welding training at NRC’s Farm Lodge campus in Ballymena, followed by a two-week work placement, commencing in January 2022.

Christine Browne, Vice Principal of Teaching and Learning at Northern Regional College, said: “The industrial standard training delivered by the Welding Academy will help employers identify and attract new talent and provide participants with much sought-after welding skills to help them to secure employment.

“The College will continue to work closely with local employers to identify their training needs and provide the training needed to close any skills gaps.”

Participants will receive a weekly training allowance of £155. They will also be reimbursed for travel expenses and may be eligible for childcare allowance.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old by 10 January 2022 and eligible to work in the UK.

This opportunity is not open to anyone currently employed within the manufacturing and engineering sector.

Applications are open from Monday 15 November and close on 10 December 2021.

For more information and to apply, visit

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