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Home > News > October 2005 > 13-Oct-2005

Sector Skills Council holds launch event in Northern Ireland

Lifelong Learning UK (LLUK), the Sector Skills Council for the lifelong learning sector, has held its official launch in Northern Ireland.

Speaking to more than one hundred guests at Stormont Parliament, LLUK's chief executive David Hunter 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 us. LLUK operates across the UK and will be embracing the contrasting needs and challenges facing learning professionals in all four countries."

"We are committed to helping all staff, whether they work full or part-time, to participate in initial training and continuing professional development. This is not just as an end in itself, but a recognition of the knock-on effect that it will have on the wider workforce."

Hunter said that among LLUK's priorities in Northern Ireland are raising participation in learning among adults, increasing the number of adults with qualifications at Level 2 and above, and encouraging more small firms to offer training to their employees.

John Hedger, chair of LLUK, said: "By offering employers in the wider economy a better skilled workforce, we can help Northern Ireland to compete more effectively internationally."

Hedger added that LLUK would also encourage greater mobility within the sector. "This is a large, diverse and extremely important sector of the economy," he said. "There must be fewer barriers to mobility so that more people can build careers within lifelong learning."

Tom Place, chair of LLUK's new Northern Ireland panel, said staff in lifelong learning are both demanders and suppliers of new skills and must be placed in a better position to offer training to more employers, including micro-businesses with just a handful of employees.

"The needs of the wider workforce will dictate the work of LLUK," said Mr. Place, director of East Down Institute of Further and Higher Education and chair of the Association of Northern Ireland Colleges.

Lifelong Learning UK's Northern Ireland national performance manager Alan Clarke said: "We are establishing Lifelong Learning UK in Northern Ireland as a strong employer voice within the lifelong learning sector. We have conducted an extensive number of awareness meetings and consultations. The commitment from Northern Ireland employers has been excellent and we look forward to implementing our work plans with the help of a strong Northern Ireland panel."

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