The Department for the Economy (DfE) has announced a new Assured Skills Collaborative Welding Academy at South West College (SWC).

Seven local companies have joined forces with SWC to offer 12 individuals an opportunity to become skilled in welding.

Funded by the DfE, the six-week intensive Assured Skills training programme will be delivered by SWC at their dedicated training facility in Cookstown. Participants will receive industry standard welding training that will provide them with the skills to take up potential welding roles with companies in the Mid Ulster area.

Highlighting the Welding Academy, Graeme Wilkinson, Director of Skills at the Department for the Economy said: "The Engineering sector is hugely important to the local economy and people with welding skills are in high demand in our local engineering and manufacturing sector as demonstrated by the number of local companies supporting this Academy.

"This collaborative approach at South West College will enable participants to gain valuable skills and, on successful completion, receive an ETCAL Level 2 welding qualification which will give them a great opportunity to pursue a rewarding career."

Welcoming the initiative, Ciaran McManus, Head of Industry and Training at South West College, said: "We are delighted to be working in partnership with DfE and a range of local employers to offer this fantastic opportunity for people to learn the skills needed to start a rewarding career in welding. Engineering is a major sector of employment in the south west region. The College is committed to working in partnership with local employers to help them attract, develop and nurture new talent. This new pre-employment Skills Academy is an example of this commitment and is a great opportunity for local people to gain new skills and a potential offer of employment and I would encourage anyone interested to apply."

Academy participants will receive £160 weekly training allowance as well as help with travelling and childcare costs.

Upon successful completion of the Academy training participants will be guaranteed an interview to take up a welding position at one of the supporting companies.

The online application form must be completed by 12 noon on Friday 15 September 2023.

The Academy will be delivered from Monday 16 October to Friday 24 November 2023.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old by Monday 16 October 2023 and eligible to work in the UK.

For further information and to apply visit the Assured Skills Academies page on nidirect.