North West Regional College has joined forces with Northern Ireland’s five other regional Further Education Colleges to promote a brand awareness campaign entitled “let’s do business” which will be formally launched in Spring 2018.
This campaign aims to raise the profile of FE Colleges as a “first port of call’ for businesses who want to re-skill or up-skill their workforce or who are interested in how they can diversify and innovate. The recent autumn budget had a clear focus on increasing innovation and productivity across the UK.
The campaign profiles the range of funded training and mentoring programmes and initiatives available to local employers who wish to grow their business through increased profitability or product development, as well as budding entrepreneurs who require assistance in turning their business idea into a commercial reality.
Local FE Colleges are a valuable resource for employers offering support to develop a wide range of new technologies. The FE Colleges are best placed to address these key areas as collaboration with business helps drive innovation and supports upskilling and reskilling of the workforce.
As part of the campaign, a new dedicated website, www.yourcollegeni.com has been created to help employers identify the college best suited to their business’s needs, provide information on funding opportunities and establish better collaborative relationships.
The six FE Colleges currently provide a broad spectrum of bespoke business activities and to date have supported over 10,000 businesses. They are a springboard for supplying talent, upskilling industry and supporting innovation.
Beverley Harrison, Director of Further Education at the Department for the Economy welcomed the new initiative:
"The FE sector plays an important role in building a skilled workforce and supporting economic development. I welcome this collaboration by the Further Education colleges, which will help raise awareness among employers of the value of professional and technical education and how it can help their organisation. I would encourage businesses both small and large to see how they can benefit from the assistance of their local college.”
Leo Murphy, Principal and Chief Executive of NWRC said: “The FE sector is committed to creating a globally competitive economy. On a day-to-day basis we are working with businesses right across NI – from the large multi-nationals such as AE Global and E&I Engineering, to the SMEs and micro businesses which are the very heart of our local economy. Through collaboration with the FE sector, businesses can improve productivity, innovation, and creativity to help support a more competitive local economy.”
Melanie Breslin of Primrose which recently created 40 new jobs in the North West when they opened their flagship Restaurant and Delicatessen in the new premises at the iconic T&E Howie building at 53/55 Strand Road, highlighted the support the family run business received from the Business Support Centre at North West Regional College.
She said: “The strong mentoring and collaborative partnership we have with the Foodovation Centre has been invaluable to us.
“We’ve been able to grow from four staff to 78 in five years, and that shows the appetite there is in Derry for quality food made from local produce, and also the potential that’s in this city to succeed as a small business.”
To find out more about the special expertise and funding support available for businesses through the FE Colleges visit www.yourcollegeni.com