Careers teachers and advisers from schools across the North West have been given an insight into the changing employment landscape for young people, during a special briefing at St Columb’s College, Derry, organised by Queen’s University Belfast.
The briefing, which also gave teachers the opportunity to meet with leading employers, coincided with the launch of the new www.qub.ac.uk/Connect/Teachers website from Queen’s earlier this week.
The valuable online resource provides a hub for Careers teachers to help their pupils maximise their career prospects, engage with the University and keep up-to-date with the latest study opportunities at Queen’s.
Queen’s currently has almost 800 students and more than 5,000 alumni from Londonderry. While in the city, University representatives had a positive meeting with the deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness to reaffirm the University’s commitment to engaging with Derry’s schools, business and civic community.
Queen’s Pro-Vice-Chancellor Professor David Jones, who leads the University’s engagement with schools and employers, said: “Events like this provide an invaluable forum for teachers to meet with university and business representatives, to explore how to maximise our young people’s higher education and career prospects and to discuss how we can meet the developing needs of employers in growing the economy here.
“In the face of an increasingly globally focussed Northern Ireland, a new and reshaped Executive, and the impending outcome of the referendum on EU membership, our young people are facing an increasingly changeable careers landscape. I am delighted that at Queen’s we are able to drive the conversation around these crucial areas and ensure everyone is aware of the opportunities available.”
The deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, said: “We can only develop a strong and sustainable economy if we are fully aware of the current and future needs of employers.
“I commend Queen’s University for bringing people together in Derry and the North West to look at current and future job opportunities.
"I encourage our young people to take time to establish what options are available to them and what skills and qualifications they will require in the future to make the transition from education to the workplace.
“This is a great example of partnership working, between employers and educators which should enable us to better match supply with demand and provide young people with the necessary skills and qualifications to compete for jobs and pursue their chosen career.”
The meetings with Careers teachers follow Queen’s announcement that it is investing a further £55 million to secure its position as a global leader in education and research, and ensure a world class experience for its students.
Currently 95 per cent of Queen’s graduates are in employment or further study within six months of graduating, and the University has links with over 3,000 employers around the globe and more than 200 partner institutions across the world at which its students can study.
Confirming the University’s commitment to young people in the North West, Professor Jones continued: “Our recent investment announcement reaffirms Queen’s commitment to attracting the best young people from across Northern Ireland and ensuring they can become skilled, knowledgeable and work-ready graduates. The quality of our graduates is the number one selling point when attracting investors to Northern Ireland, and we look forward to continuing our work with schools and employers to ensure that together we are maximising the potential of all our young people.”
Laura Jackson, Partner at BDO Northern Ireland, who attended the event, said: “At BDO Northern Ireland, people are at the heart of how we do business and we recognise as a firm the importance of identifying, recruiting and developing future leaders. This is why we are proud to take part in and support such a valuable relationship with Queen’s University. In reaching out to careers teachers in our schools, we can work together as employers and education bodies to better equip our students for the world of work.”
Angela McGowan, Chief Economist at Danske Bank, who also spoke to those attending the event, added: “Today’s young people will shape and drive Northern Ireland’s future economy. At Danske Bank we recognise the need for successful businesses and educational institutions to work together to bring accurate information around skills, employment opportunities and entrepreneurship to local schools. There are opportunities for every young person in Northern Ireland’s economy, everyone has a role to play in making this region an economic success and no one should feel excluded or left behind. We hope to bring that message to each and every pupil.”
For more information on study opportunities at Queen’s visit http://www.qub.ac.uk/home/StudyatQueens/
Photo caption: Professor Adrienne Scullion, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences; Queen’s University with Deputy First Minster, Martin McGuinness and Professor David Jones, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Education and Students, Queen's University Belfast.
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