Monday 17-11-2014 - 17:28
A National Society of Apprentices in Northern Ireland was launched last week during NUS-USI FEstival, an event for Further Education students organised by NUS-USI.
The National Society of Apprentices in Northern Ireland (NSoANI) is an organisation that has been created to give apprentices a voice on key issues that affect them and will be led by apprentices, for apprentices.
One of the apprentices taking part in the launch, Paul McGahon said, ‘This is an extremely positive development for apprentices. Having NSoANI will help voice the reality of what being an apprentice is like to decision makers. It’s vital that we have an organisation that can let others know what it’s like being an apprentice, to help try and address any potential problems facing apprentices.’
President of NUS-USI Rebecca Hall said, ‘This is a historic event for apprentices in Northern Ireland. The NSoANI will ensure that the collective voice of apprentices here is heard to help try and deliver the best possible deal for them and will be an autonomous organisation which will work to ensure that the concerns of apprentices can be addressed.
‘This is a momentous initiative and it is extremely important that apprentices’ voices are heard, given that a cut of 10.8 per cent has been proposed for the Department for Employment and Learning in the draft budget. It is crucial that the message gets through that we may not be able to deliver the skills needed to help people reach their potential, and help the economy grow, if funding for DEL is cut. Increased funding is proposed for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment; therefore, DEL’s funding should not be cut, as it’s vital that government invests in our future and our future economy by investing in apprentices and students.
‘Representation for apprentices by apprentices is extremely important, to ensure that the apprentice voice has a central input into policy and decision-making in Northern Ireland. We welcome the Employment and Learning Minister’s continued investment in apprentices and hope that the society can play a pivotal role in apprentice strategy here in the future.
‘There are many big issues that apprentices need to be heard on, like apprentice pay, workers’ rights and the hidden costs of apprenticeships, like travel or equipment. It is crucial that apprentices get the best deal possible so that they can continue to play a central role in our economy, and the NSoANI aims to help deliver that.’
What is NUS-USI FEstival?
Student officers from all six Northern Irish FE colleges and CAFRE attended NUS-USI FEstival from 11-12 November at Lorne House, Cultra, making it the biggest training event in NUS-USI’s calendar. This course enables student officers to gain skills and knowledge in all aspects of their role, from being a leader of a democratic organisation, to a representative of the student voice and a campaigner for better student rights and experience on campus. In addition to the NSoANI being established, we also launched the #ILoveFE campaign. Photos from NUS-USI FEstival the event can be viewed here.