Skills strategy would enable everyone to access opportunities, says O'Lynn

Patricia O'Lynn Economy

A new skills strategy for Northern Ireland would enable everyone to access opportunities regardless of their background, Alliance Assembly candidate Patricia O’Lynn has said.

The North Antrim candidate was speaking ahead of Alliance showcasing a series of economic proposals in its upcoming manifesto, including a Social Value Act to drive social change, a dedicated strategy for 14-19-year-olds to bridge the gap between education apprenticeships and training, and a comprehensive high streets and town centres strategy

“Skills are a key driver of economic and social change in our society,” said Councillor O’Lynn.

“They make our economy more open, flexible and competitive, and increase productivity across society. Raising them can also lead to improvements in standards of living, therefore increasing social mobility and equality.

“A new skills strategy would drive up skill levels across society, while ensuring skills provision aligns more closely with the requirements of employers and the wider economy. Being cross-Departmental would give the entire Executive responsibility for it, and it would enable everyone to access opportunities, regardless of gender, age, disability, ethnicity or socio-economic background, and it could equip people with the skills which will be the focus of the future.

“To make the plan viable, we need to see additional investment to lay the groundwork. It is no longer sustainable to try and be the cheapest – we must instead try and be the best.”