Belfast Region City Deal partners are putting apprenticeships in the spotlight as part of their focus on how employability and skills will underpin their plan for jobs through ambitious city deal investment.
Funded by the Department for the Economy’s Apprenticeship Challenge Fund, the city deal partners are delivering a series of insight webinars for employers to discover more about apprenticeships in their sector and share their views on how the current apprenticeship system could be enhanced.
Chairman of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council’s Development Committee, Alderman Jim Dillon, MBE, explains: “The upcoming webinars are part of a wider project looking at apprenticeships in the context of Belfast Region City Deal investments and the employment opportunities presented. There has never been a better time to look to apprenticeships as a career pathway and likewise for businesses to look at introducing apprenticeships into their business to add real value.
Best Results For Our Region’s Economy
“The Belfast Region City Deal project team, working under the Department for the Economy’s Apprenticeship Challenge Fund, is fully embracing the opportunity to promote apprenticeships within the identified key growth sectors and shape the landscape to ensure the best results for our region’s economy. Engaging directly with employers through these upcoming webinars is a great opportunity to highlight the work of the team to date and a chance to let employers know of the support that is out there, including funding.
“First up we have the webinar for Manufacturing on Thursday 25th March. Right across Lisburn and Castlereagh we have a strong manufacturing sector and would invite local manufacturing businesses to register for the event to find out more.”
The webinars are scheduled as follows:
Manufacturing: Thursday 25 March at 9:30am
Life and Health Sciences: Wednesday 28 April at 10am
Public Sector: Tuesday 11 May at 10am
Professional and Business Services: Tuesday 1 June at 10am
Digital: Tuesday 15 June at 10am
Commenting on the webinars, Diane Dodds, Minister for the Economy, said, “We want the Apprenticeship Challenge Fund projects to help identify innovative approaches to apprenticeships and identify and address any potential barriers to uptake. This series of webinars is a great opportunity to highlight apprenticeships as a career opportunity and also to showcase the benefits an apprenticeship can bring to the employer and the individual. I am pleased that my Department is funding this activity under the Apprenticeship Challenge Fund and I wish the Belfast Regional City Deal partners every success.”
Ribbon Cutting for Blaris Greenway Extension
Infrastructure Minister Nichola Mallon has officially opened an extension to the Blaris Greenway scheme.
The latest phase of the scheme links Sprucefield Park and Ride to Halftown Road, a distance of 1.4 kilometres. This brings the total length of the Greenway to 2.8 kilometres from Halftown Road to Blaris Road where it connects with Union Locks, Lisburn and the Lagan Towpath, providing a virtually traffic free route of around 24 kilometres into Belfast city centre.
The path is four metres wide along the majority of its length and also incorporates a series of passing bays along the route to allow local access for agricultural vehicles, providing ample space for everyone to share safely.
Minister Mallon said: “As more of us are choosing pedal power or walking over the traditional car this latest safe traffic-free route will be a welcome addition to the increasingly popular Blaris Greenway by those from local communities who wish to walk, wheel or cycle as a form of leisure or as part of their daily commute.
“The path is conveniently located within reach of Culcavy and Hillsborough, provides access to Maze-Long Kesh and has direct public transport connections to Belfast from the Sprucefield Park and Ride site.
“It was important for me that the local farming community also had access to their agricultural land and I am pleased that we have been able to incorporate passing bays along the path, providing safe passage for all who travel along it.
“I remain committed to creating more active travel opportunities and developing sustainable infrastructure projects and I will continue to work with Executive colleagues, councils and other partners to help deliver cleaner, greener, sustainable active travel infrastructure across our island.”
Caroline Bloomfield, Sustrans Northern Ireland Director said: “It is fantastic to see this high quality, safe walking and cycling route all the way from the Maze village in Co Down to Belfast. It enhances the National Cycle Network, extending NCN Route 9 via the Lagan Towpath to give more than 20 kilometres of virtually traffic-free walking and cycling. Greenways are essential to ensure walking and cycling can be for everyone, whatever their ability. With so many people living along this corridor there are huge benefits for people’s physical and mental health, as well as the environment.”
Mayor of Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council, Councillor Nicholas Trimble added: “We are delighted that the Blaris Greenway is progressing and connecting more of our rural areas with Lisburn city centre and the towpath into Belfast. I am confident that cyclists will enjoy the opportunity to cycle further off-road and can use it to get to any events that may take place at the Maze-Long Kesh site in the future. I would like to thank the Department for Infrastructure for their continued investment in our area.”
Exciting Development at Dundonald Ice Bowl as Planning Permission Approved
Lisburn & Castlereagh City Council has approved planning permission to redevelop Dundonald International Ice Bowl with plans that will see it transformed in to a top class attraction with state of the art facilities in a sleek, modern fit for purpose building.
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Chairman of the Capital Projects Committee said: “I am delighted to see this project pass a key milestone. The innovative plans include a new Olympic sized ice rink, the only public one on the island of Ireland putting Lisburn and Castlereagh on the map in the professional skating world.
“Along with tenpin bowling and a children’s soft play & adventure play area, we will attract visitors from across NI and beyond, ensuring we retain our status as one of NI’s leading visitor attractions.
“The local community will also benefit from new primary health care and community facilities including an outdoor children’s play area. There will be restaurants, offices and new car parking, all surrounded by contemporary landscaping. I am excited to see how this develops.”
Alderman Michael Henderson MBE, Chairman of the Leisure & Community Development Committee added: “The success of Dundonald International Ice Bowl speaks for itself, welcoming over 600,000 people through its doors each year. Its importance as a regional attraction is evident, supporting tourism, economic activity, job creation and now providing services to the community under these new plans.
“The new Dundonald International Ice Bowl will bring so many benefits to the area and the surrounding businesses. Plans will be phased so that visitors can continue to enjoy the Ice Bowl and all that it offers during development and so that jobs can be sustained throughout the process.
“I welcome the approval of planning for this project and am excited to see the plans progress.”