Skills deficit

Only one in seven unemployed young people entering the Northern Ireland Jobskills Programme is proficient enough in the 3Rs to begin a national vocational qualification level 2 programme, Patrick Murphy, director of the Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education, told the annual conference of the Association of Northern Ireland Education and Library Boards last week.

The conference called for urgent Government action to explain and correct the failings. Research by the Training and Employment Agency also showed that 55 per cent of entrants needed immediate help with the most basic skills.

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