Economy Minister Diane Dodds has launched a new Supply Chain and Logistics course for Higher Level Apprentices at Northern Regional College.
The course, funded by the Department for the Economy, is the only one of its kind in Northern Ireland and will ensure a pipeline of skilled talent flows to this important sector.
Minister Dodds said: “Skills are a key priority as we begin the process of rebuilding the economy and apprenticeships are at the centre of my Department’s long-term strategic plans.
“With over £8billion in annual external sales to Great Britain, logistics is integral to Northern Ireland’s economy and its importance will continue to grow due to the interconnectedness of supply chains across the UK.
“This new Higher Level Apprenticeship will supply the relevant skills and provide high quality career opportunities in an important and growing sector.”
Fifteen places will be available on the HLA Supply Chain and Logistics programme in the first year. Training will be delivered at Northern Regional College’s Newtownabbey campus from 13 September 2021 and will include modules in Transport, Logistics, Supply Chain, Compliance and Warehousing.
Due to the specialist nature of the course, students will be taught by industry experts working alongside Northern Regional College lecturers to ensure full compliance with current sector regulations.
Logistics plays an important role in Northern Ireland’s economy and helps keep goods moving into, out of and around the region. Across the UK, the wider logistics industry employs over 2.5 million people.
Northern Regional College has worked closely with sector representatives and local businesses to ensure the innovative course meets their specialist requirements. Among those involved in the development of the course were Logistics UK Northern Ireland, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, DFDS, Henderson Group, Ryobi, Caterpillar, Woodside Logistics Group, Lynas Foods and McBurney Transport.
Professor Terri Scott, Principal and Chief Executive of Northern Regional College, said the increased awareness of the importance of the supply chain and logistics in the wake of both Brexit and the Covid pandemic meant it is an opportune time for the college to launch the new Higher Level Apprenticeship (HLA).
She said: “The HLA in Supply Chain and Logistics will be a game changer for anyone interested in pursuing a career in this sector. Northern Regional College is delighted to be able to partner with local stakeholders to provide real-world knowledge and expertise to the apprentices as they look to further their career.
“There is a growing demand for skilled professionals in this fast-paced and influential business environment.”
Nick McCullough, Managing Director of DFDS, said: “There is a significant shortage of skilled people in our industry, so this HLA is very welcome especially as we continue to grow and enter new markets across Europe and beyond. We look forward to supporting the ongoing development of the HLA in Supply Chain and Logistics and welcoming skilled people into our business in the years to come.”
Seamus Leheny, Northern Ireland Policy Manager at Logistics UK, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic and our exit from the EU have shown the importance of logistics as an industry. The fact that our economy relies on the efficient connectivity of supply chains demonstrates the need to have people with relevant skills and training in logistics management.”
Higher Level Apprentices will work with their employer four days a week and attend the college one day to complete a Foundation Degree in Supply Chain and Logistics, validated by Ulster University. On successful completion of the Foundation Degree, they can progress to undertake a BSc degree in Business Studies at Ulster University.
During her visit to NRC’s Newtownabbey campus, the Minister also visited the college workshops to meet apprentices and lecturers. She spoke with fourth year plumbing apprentice Adam Coomber who recently received the NI Plumbing and Heating Apprentice of the Year Award.
To apply for the Supply Chain and Logistics course, go online at https://www.nrc.ac.uk/course/logistics-and-supply-chain-higher-level-apprenticeship-hla