Farry launches Norbrook Laboratories apprenticeship scheme
Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry has launched a new apprenticeship programme at Norbrook Laboratories Ltd in Newry.
“In the current economic climate, it is important we continue to invest in the skills training of our young people.
“My Department is currently carrying out a review of the apprenticeship and youth training programmes and my aim is to build upon and enhance existing strong provision, ensuring that Northern Ireland has a system of apprenticeship and youth training that is the ‘gold standard’.
Farry insists that the development of apprenticeships in priority skills areas such as pharmaceutical and life sciences is vital for the future success of the Northern Ireland economy.
“The work that the Southern Regional College is currently undertaking with Norbrook Laboratories is an example of how our Further Education colleges can work in partnership with local business and industry. The development of science related apprenticeships is important for the future of our young people and for the local economy.
“In turn, all of those participating will know that they will be acquiring skills directly relevant to the workplace, to help them gain sustainable employment and progress within their chosen career.”
Since its foundation over 40 years ago, Norbrook Laboratories has grown to be one of the world’s leading pharmaceutical companies specialising in the development of veterinary and animal health medicines. In June this year Norbrook announced an expansion of its workforce with a commitment to employ a further 400 new staff over the next 2 years.
The launch of the ‘Norbrook Laboratories Apprenticeship Programme’ in laboratory science is an important element of the company’s planned expansion programme. Norbrook is further collaborating Southern Regional College and the University of Ulster to develop a higher Level 5 apprenticeship in Life and Chemical Sciences to commence in 2014.
This exciting programme will offer an alternative pathway to the more traditional degree qualification for school leavers at A level.
Speaking at the launch event, Minister Farry stated that this is the first pilot of Higher Level Apprenticeships in NI and he paid tribute to Norbrook SRC and UU for progressing this ground breaking initiative which will provide high level jobs within the local economy.
Lord Ballyedmond, chairman of Norbrook Laboratories said, “The apprenticeship programme developed in partnership with the Southern Regional College provides a significant opportunity for young people to embark on an exciting career within the pharmaceutical industry.
“The development of the Level 2 and Level 3 Laboratory and Science Technician Apprenticeship demonstrates our long term commitment to the young people of the greater Newry area. I am delighted that Norbrook Laboratories is in a position to make such a significant contribution to reduce youth unemployment.”
The apprenticeship scheme consists of both work related experience and training in Norbrook Laboratories combined with science based qualifications undertaken through the Southern Regional College on a day release basis and funded through the Department for Employment and Learning’s ApprenticeshipsNI programme.
The announcement was also welcomed by Mr Brian Doran, Chief Executive of Southern regional College. He said, “I am delighted that the partnership that exists between Norbrook Laboratories and the College has been further strengthened through the announcement of the apprenticeship scheme.
He added, “I am confident this development will make a lasting contribution to the future workforce in the greater Newry area.”
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