Eastwood to establish All-Party Working Group on Skills with cross-party group of MLAs

Alliance Economy spokesperson Sorcha Eastwood MLA and a cross-party group of MLAs are to establish an All-Party Working Group on Skills to focus the attention of government departments and fellow MLAs on the need for action on skills development.

Economy Sorcha Eastwood

The Lagan Valley MLA said it was through conversations with businesses, healthcare providers, green industries, arts organisations, economists, students and others that the need for the group became clear.


Ms Eastwood has said: “Skills policy and provision is one of the major issues leaders across all different industries are raising with me. Getting our skills policies right isn’t just about ensuring enough people are available to work within specific target areas, it is about ensuring our society can function well.


The structure of our skills ecosystem is not just an issue for now, it will become increasingly important as we realise the need to retrain and reskill people. We need to encourage and enable a culture of life-long learning, which gives people opportunities no matter their age, background or where they live.


While the Department for the Economy released their skills strategy in 2022 and the new Skills Council was established this year, the need for departments to work together was raised again and again in meetings with different organisations.


Other key issues included the need for a detailed look at critical areas such as health and social care and green industries, and the need to review how funding impacts skills outcomes.


I’m very much looking forward to hitting the ground running with this, working with colleagues from other parties and making progress with our government departments.”