Eastwood launches cross-party skills group

Alliance Economy spokesperson Sorcha Eastwood is to launch an All Party Group on Skills to help address the worst areas of skills shortages across Northern Ireland.

Economy Sorcha Eastwood

The All Party Group on Skills is a cross-party group chaired by the Lagan Valley MLA and supported by the Open University.

The group will be taking evidence from unions, academics, workers, education providers, businesses, and professionals in key areas with skills challenges.

Ahead of the launch on Thursday 11th April, Ms Eastwood said: “Fundamentally skills are about people, opportunities, and innovation. Skills policy is crucial to our society and it is a major issue for every industry and every area of public services. For example, it is a top priority for businesses, the health and social care sector, the arts, agriculture, and our net zero energy transition.

“The new All Party Group on Skills, with the support of the Open University, intends to investigate a wide range of specific areas of skills policy and engage with key stakeholders.

“The first inquiry will be into skills in social care given that providing adequate social care for an ageing population is one of the greatest challenges Northern Ireland faces. Those working in the sector are highly skilled and must be better valued by society.

“This investigation into skills in social care is taking place with a backdrop of a Conservative government implementing ideologically driven and cruel migration policies, which will see care workers not able to bring their family with them when moving to work here. Therefore, how we support and develop care workers is crucially important.”