NI Chamber launches 'Future of Skills' forum

Louise Turley (NI Chamber), Gordon Parkes (NIE Networks) and Ian Henry (NI Chamber), pictured with Holly Brown, a quantity and building surveying apprentice at NIE Networks.

NI CHAMBER has launched a new forum to provide members with an opportunity to feed into the new Skills Strategy for Northern Ireland.

‘The Future of Skills’ forum will address the skills-related challenges facing businesses here, assess what local employers are already doing to combat the skills shortage and what more must be done to facilitate economic recovery and growth.

A series of regional sessions will be held in partnership with Northern Ireland Electricity Networks, at which attendees will have the opportunity to share their own experiences and contribute to recommendations made to the Department for the Economy on the Skills Strategy for Northern Ireland.

The first such event will be hosted online on September 18 and will be chaired by John Healy, managing director at Allstate NI.

Gerry Kindlon, head of government relations Europe at Seagate Technology and Mark Gubbins, R&D director, also at Seagate Technology, will share the actions they have taken on skills, which have helped position them as a market leader. In addition,

Graeme Wilkinson, director of skills for the Department for the Economy will provide an update on the skills strategy and what this means for business.

Speaking ahead of the first event, NI Chamber President Ian Henry, said: “Access to skills is one of the single biggest barriers to business growth in Northern Ireland and has been for some time. It was a significant issue prior to Covid-19 and the pandemic, coupled with the ending of the Brexit transition period means that the need to address it has never been more urgent.

“It’s a growing problem which impacts businesses across all sectors, from IT to agri-food, the professions and manufacturers. If your business is in any way affected or indeed, has an experience to share, please get involved and make your contribution heard. This is a really important opportunity for local businesses to shape recommendations which will significantly impact how we do business now and crucially, how we prepare our economy for future prosperity.”

To register for the event, visit

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