Farry urges local learners and employers to enter VQ Awards

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry today launched the Vocational Qualifications (VQ) Awards 2015. Pictured with the Minister are broadcaster Tina Campbell and Karen Todd from the Department for Employment and Learning's Qualifications & E-Learning Branch.
Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry today launched the Vocational Qualifications (VQ) Awards 2015. Pictured with the Minister are broadcaster Tina Campbell and Karen Todd from the Department for Employment and Learning's Qualifications & E-Learning Branch.

Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry has urged Coleraine and Ballymoney learners and employers to enter the Vocational Qualifications (VQ) Awards 2015.

Nominations are now open for the two award categories - VQ Learner of the Year and VQ Employer of the Year.

Minister Farry said: “VQ Day has become an established occasion, celebrating and showcasing outstanding vocational educational achievement across Northern Ireland. It highlights the importance of professional and technical qualifications to learners, employers and the wider economy.

“I are am committed to an economic future for Northern Ireland which is underpinned by higher value-added jobs, enhancements to productivity and competitiveness, increased skill levels and improved participation in education and training.

“In June 2014, I launched the Northern Ireland Strategy on Apprenticeships which aims to deliver gold standard apprenticeships to form part of a new skills landscape.

“Future Apprenticeships will be available from level 3 to degree level and in certain occupations, Master and Doctorate levels. Higher Level Apprenticeships continue to be rolled out in the key Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) sector in partnership with the Further Education Colleges and industry.”

Ten learners will have their outstanding achievements recognised at the Northern Ireland awards ceremony on 10 June with the winner receiving the Northern Ireland VQ Learner of the Year trophy and an iPad air. There will be three finalists for the Employer of the Year award with the winner being presented with the Northern Ireland VQ Employer of the Year trophy.

The Minister concluded: “I would encourage all Coleraine and Ballymoney learners and employers to get involved in the 2015 awards. We want to hear the very best stories about people of every background, age and who, through learning, have transformed their own lives and the lives of their families, the communities they live in and the places they work.”

Application forms, support materials and further information on VQ Day 2015 are available from www.delni.gov.uk/vqday. The closing date for nominations for both awards is Friday 1 May 2015.

The winners will be announced at an awards ceremony to be held in the Great Hall at Stormont as part of the UK-wide VQ Day celebrations taking place on Wednesday 10 June 2015.