Fri 6th Dec 2019
DUP Leader outlines plans for jobs and the economy
DUP leader Arlene Foster today (Friday 6 December 2019) outlined her plans for jobs and the economy to leading members of the Northern Ireland business community ahead of the forthcoming election.
The DUP leader was speaking at the final event in the ‘5 Leaders; 5 Days’ series, a programme organised by Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry (NI Chamber), at which the party leaders from five main political parties outlined their plans for jobs, growth and the economy.
Today’s event followed recent addresses from SDLP leader, Colm Eastwood, Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill, Alliance leader Naomi Long and the UUP’s Steve Aiken.
Addressing an audience of local business people in Allstate NI, DUP Leader Arlene Foster reinforced the importance of Northern Ireland Ministers and a functioning Executive:
“We want to work with other parties to get Northern Ireland moving again. I reinforce our commitment and desire to form an Executive today and start making progress
“Taking decisions locally undoubtedly helps with the bread and butter issues, but it also provides vital stability. It bolsters the peace and strengthens relations, and that’s good for Northern Ireland. We know that Northern Ireland works best when we work together”.
She went on to describe DUP proposals for a skills revolution for Northern Ireland:
“We need a skills base that is flexible and can meet the needs of businesses of all sizes. We advocate:
- an updated skills strategy which focuses on key growth sectors and is aligned with local employers and the new Industrial Strategy
- greater promotion of self-employment as a career option
- technology skills learning as a core element of skills development
- improve work experience in schools
- and overhaul the apprenticeship system to encourage employers to develop talent, and create apprenticeships more attractive to young people, parents and schools”.
John Healy, President of Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Industry, added:
“Access to skills is one of the single biggest challenges facing employers across almost every sector in Northern Ireland. Of course, we need a functioning Executive to address this and the sooner it is established, the sooner we can start working on these, and other important issues together.
“Today marks the end of what has been another very successful ‘5 Leaders; 5 Days’ series, which has seen hundreds of our members take up the opportunity to engage directly with party leaders on issues that matter most to their businesses. I would like to thank Arlene Foster and all the party leaders for their participation and contribution to the series.”