The borough council has agreed to support the delivery of the training programme in partnership with Horizon Engineering.
An officer’s report to the council has advised that the continued development of the right type of business skills is a “critical aspect of local recovery from the negative economic impacts of Covid-19”.
The report has stated that Antrim and Newtownabbey is believed to be the sixth most negatively impacted local authority in Northern Ireland by the pandemic with economic forecasts predicting a productivity drop in the borough by just over a third.
According to the Department for Communities, there are 7,940 people across the borough claiming Universal Credit.
Newtownabbey Foodbank has reported that demand for its service has more than tripled since the Covid pandemic began. Read here
Project manager Daniel Black says that the foodbank has helped more than 16,000 people from all walks of life since it was established in 2015.
Speaking at a meeting of the borough council on Monday evening, Glengormley Ulster Unionist Alderman Mark Cosgrove said that he was “very happy to second” the pilot electrical engineering programme proposal.
He added: “The potential of this type of scheme from an employment perspective, from a skills perspective, from a centre of excellence is very significant. This is us dipping our toe in for a relatively minor sum.
“There is tremendous potential involved in this.”
Antrim and Newtownabbey Mayor, Councillor Jim Montgomery said: “This looks to be a very interesting pilot scheme.”
Meanwhile, research by Ulster University Economic Policy Centre identifies young people aged 16 to 24 as being a most vulnerable group and recommended apprenticeships, additional education and digital skills as being “key to providing alternative sustainable employment”.
Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter.
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