All posts by Chris Taylor

Phil Flanagan MLA visits P Clarke and Sons on NIABT Fellowship

Phil Flanagan MLA spent the morning with representatives from P. Clarke & Sons, Lisnaskea and the Quarry Products Association Northern Ireland.

After a presentation by Gordon Best, Regional Director QPANI, Phil had a chance to have a site tour of the quarry and manufacturing facilities at P. Clarke & Sons, Lisnaskea.

L-R Clive Grudgings, Chairman QPANI; Phil Flanagan MLA, NIABT Chairman; Paddy Clarke of P. Clarke & Sons and Gordon Best, Regional Director QPANI.
L-R Clive Grudgings, Chairman QPANI; Phil Flanagan MLA, NIABT Chairman; Paddy Clarke of P. Clarke & Sons and Gordon Best, Regional Director QPANI.

NIABT briefed on Skill Exchange Hub initiative

Phil Flaxton, CEO of Skill Exchange UK and Ian Paisley MP briefed the NIABT on the Skill Exchange initiative at this morning’s breakfast event.

Members received presentations on “An Introduction to the Local Hub Programme” and a demonstration on how ‘Local Hub’ works for members of Skill Exchange UK.
View the invite to the event.

L-R Ian Paisley MP, Chris Wales, Chairman of Ballymena Hub, John Rooney, NIABT Vice Chair, Leslie Cree MBE MLA, Robin Swann MLA, Chairperson of Committee for Employment and Learning and Phil Flaxton, CEO of Skill Exchange UK
L-R Ian Paisley MP, Chris Wales, Chairman of Ballymena Hub, John Rooney, NIABT Vice Chair, Leslie Cree MBE MLA, Robin Swann MLA, Chairperson of Committee for Employment and Learning and Phil Flaxton, CEO of Skill Exchange UK

Educational visit to Belfast Distillery

An NIABT delegation visited the Crumlin Road Gaol to receive a presentation and tour of their new premises from Peter Lavery and Michael Morris of Belfast Distillery.

L-R Gerry Kelly MLA with Peter Lavery, Belfast Distillery
L-R Gerry Kelly MLA with Peter Lavery, Belfast Distillery
L-R Alex Maskey MLA, Alban Maginness MLA, Michael Morris, Belfast Distillery, Gerry Kelly MLA and Michael Bell, NIFDA
L-R Alex Maskey MLA, Alban Maginness MLA, Michael Morris, Belfast Distillery, Gerry Kelly MLA and Michael Bell, NIFDA
L-R: Gerry Kelly MLA, Alex Maskey MLA and Michael Bell, NIFDA
L-R: Gerry Kelly MLA, Alex Maskey MLA and Michael Bell, NIFDA
L-R Alban Maginness MLA with Peter Lavery, Belfast Distillery
L-R Alban Maginness MLA with Peter Lavery, Belfast Distillery
L-R Alex Maskey MLA, Michael Bell, NIFDA and Peter Lavery, Belfast Distillery
L-R Alex Maskey MLA, Michael Bell, NIFDA and Peter Lavery, Belfast Distillery

Promoting Youth Employment

Chris Lyttle
Chris Lyttle MLA, Chair of the NIABT, shares his view on the recent Breakfast Briefing on promoting youth employment

One of the single biggest challenges for the NI Executive is to promote youth employment. I was glad therefore to host the Minister for Employment & Learning, Dr Stephen Farry MLA, the then Chair of the Assembly Committee for Employment & Learning Basil McCrea MLA, Carol Fitzsimons, CEO of Young Enterprise NI and Fiona McAteer, Researcher for Basil McCrea MLA at the latest NIABT breakfast briefing.

The Minister for Employment talked about how the Youth Employment Scheme was helping young people in Northern Ireland gain vital work experience and sustainable employment. Dr Farry also highlighted the DEL NEETS Strategy Collaboration and Innovation Fund of £9m, which is intended to assist the community and voluntary sector to help bring young people closer to the labour market.

(left-right) Fiona McAteer, Researcher for Basil McCrea MLA, Carol Fitzsimons, CEO Young Enterprise NI, Minister for Employment and Learning Dr Stephen Farry MLA, Chris Lyttle MLA, Chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust and Basil McCrea MLA, Chair of the Employment and Learning Committee
(left-right) Fiona McAteer, Researcher for Basil McCrea MLA, Carol Fitzsimons, CEO Young Enterprise NI, Minister for Employment and Learning Dr Stephen Farry MLA, Chris Lyttle MLA, Chair of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust and Basil McCrea MLA, former Chair of the Employment and Learning Committee

The Minister praised employers for rising to the challenge of providing work placements and opportunities to support young unemployed people. He particularly welcomed employers who are getting involved in the Youth Employment Scheme by providing sector relevant work experience opportunities which are supported by employer subsidies.

Former Chairperson of the Assembly Employment & Learning Committee, Basil McCrea MLA paid particular attention to apprenticeships and the Graduate Accelerated Programme (GAP) Scheme. Basil drew on his own personal experience of the GAP Scheme.

Fiona McAteer, who now works as a full time researcher for Basil McCrea MLA as a result of a six month GAP placement, provided some real life experience of the Scheme and how it helped her to gain full time employment.

Carol Fitzsimons, CEO for Young Enterprise NI, spoke about the need to listen to young people and to encourage self-employment, business start-up and entrepreneurial risk at the earliest possible age. Carol encouraged businesses to recruit on competency and train on skills in order to give a generation of capable and enthusiastic young people the chance to gain the experience they need for 21st Century employment.

All panellists made valuable contributions on this important issue and the briefing concluded with a question and answer session. There was a robust debate and a commitment from the Minister to continue to engage with members of the NIABT to ensure that the NI Executive, MLAs and the business community work together to increase youth employment in Northern Ireland.

Debating Europe Seminar – 7th February

Members took the opportunity to attend the “Debating Europe seminar” on the 07 February 2013 which tackled “The implications for the UK of the sovereign debt crisis and Eurozone economic governance”.

Dr Lee McGowan, Queen's University, John Rooney, NIABT Vice Chair, Dr Andrew Baker, Queen's University and  Ash Farag, Global Financial Services
L-R Dr Lee McGowan, Queen’s University, John Rooney, NIABT Vice Chair, Dr Andrew Baker, Queen’s University and Ash Farag, Global Financial Services

Minister for Finance and Personnel briefs NIABT on economic outlook for 2013

Sammy Wilson MP MLA, Minister for Finance and Personnel provided the opening NIABT briefing for 2013, where the focus was on looking ahead to the economic outlook for the year ahead. A transcript of the briefing can be found here.

L-R Mr. Leslie Cree MLA, Ms. Joanne Stuart, Minister for Finance and Personnel Sammy Wilson MP MLA, Chair of NIABT Mr. Chris Lyttle MLA, Vice Chair of NIABT Mr. John Rooney & Mr. Michael Bell
L-R Mr. Leslie Cree MLA, Ms. Joanne Stuart, Minister for Finance and Personnel Sammy Wilson MP MLA, Chair of NIABT Mr. Chris Lyttle MLA, Vice Chair of NIABT Mr. John Rooney & Mr. Michael Bell

Alastair Ross takes part in the fellowship programme with Fitzwilliam Hotel

East Antrim MLA Alastair Ross pictured on a recent visit to the Fitzwilliam Hotel in Belfast where he took part in the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust’s (NIABT) Fellowship Programme. The Fellowship Programme offers MLAs an opportunity to learn more about the day to day work of local businesses. Pictured L-r: Siobhán O Sullivan, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Fitzwilliam Hotel, Alastair Ross MLA and Cian Landers, General Manager of the Fitzwilliam Hotel.
East Antrim MLA Alastair Ross pictured on a recent visit to the Fitzwilliam Hotel in Belfast where he took part in the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust’s (NIABT) Fellowship Programme. The Fellowship Programme offers MLAs an opportunity to learn more about the day to day work of local businesses.
Pictured L-r: Siobhán O Sullivan, Director of Sales and Marketing for the Fitzwilliam Hotel, Alastair Ross MLA and Cian Landers, General Manager of the Fitzwilliam Hotel.