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'Skill Up’ Programme to Aid Career Prospects


Published: 6 August 2021

Belfast Met was delighted by the recent announcement by Economy Minister Gordon Lyons of Skill Up, a new initiative to deliver free training places, in an investment of up to £23million.

Supported by the Northern Ireland Office, Skill Up will fully fund local further education colleges and universities to deliver approximately 15,000 training places in over 250 subject areas for qualifications ranging from Level 2 up to Level 7.

The Minister, Gordon Lyons, said: “I am very pleased to announce Skill Up. With support from the Northern Ireland Office, my Department will fully fund around 15,000 training places across the local FE colleges and universities over the next three years, representing an investment of up to £23million. Up to 7,000 places will be available in the first year.

“Since May 2020 my Department has funded more than 7,000 training places for people whose careers were affected by the pandemic. These courses were fully taken up and helped many people to upskill and reskill to boost their career prospects and employability. Skill Up will build on that success, with courses even more accessible – if you meet the entry criteria, you can apply.

“Courses will be available in a diverse range of subject areas, including digital marketing, childcare, engineering, management skills and many more. With so many courses available, there is something for almost everyone.”

The Minister added: “Investing in skills is a key facet of the economic recovery, post-pandemic. Skill Up will invest in courses that are directly linked to priority areas for future economic growth, meaning people can equip themselves with the skills they need for jobs in new and emerging sectors, in line with my Department’s 10X Economic Vision and Skills Strategy.”

Belfast Met will be delivering fully funded, online courses for over 1000 students, in areas such as from Childcare, Health and Social Care, Business and Marketing, Digital Construction and IT. The courses available to everyone over the age of 18 who is eligible to work in Northern Ireland.

The College is also providing opportunities for graduates to upskill and gain vital experience working in a placement setting through our Digital Futures (Cloud Computing) Programme, Future Leaders (Leadership & Management) Programme and Digital Marketing Programme. In addition, the Press Refresh programme provides qualifications and support for women who want to return to work and develop career opportunities in the IT sector.

Rachel Burns, Economic Development Manager at Belfast Met, said, “The Skill Up programme provides an excellent opportunity for individuals to upskill and reskill in new and emerging sectors, leading to opportunities for career development and progression, whilst providing a vital skills boost to local businesses.”

Applications for all courses are open now – full details at

For Belfast Met’s offering visit

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