Skills Development Support Scheme to Remain Free for Businesses Until March 2022 | Newry Times

Posted by
Thursday, March 4th, 2021

Economy Minister Diane Dodds has announced that a skills development support scheme will remain free for businesses until the end of March 2022.


Dodds extends free access to SME skills programme - Newry Times - Newry City Business news


Skills Focus is a post-employment training programme that is open to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including social enterprises, with fewer than 250 employees.



Last May the Minister announced that the usual 25% cost to businesses would be waived until 31 March 2021.

She has now extended that waiver for a further 12 months to further support businesses through the pandemic.

Speaking about the step, the Minister said, “Skills Focus enables businesses to upskill and reskill staff, including those on furlough, by accessing tailored teaching from the further education colleges.


Is your blog or news page gathering dust? Northern Ireland freelance copywriter Paul Malone - Tall Paul Marketing


“Since May last year SMEs, including social enterprises, have been able to access this support at no cost to themselves.

“More than 1,000 businesses and 1,800 staff members have done so.

“And I am pleased to be able to extend this measure through to the end of March next year.

“Courses are available in accredited and industry-standard qualifications at level 2 and above.



“Training can be delivered online and covers a range of areas, including customer service, health and social care, leadership and tourism.

“I am keen that small businesses have the opportunity to upskill their staff in readiness for the recovery.

“And I would encourage them to engage with their local college to see what courses are available that might be relevant to them,” she added.

More information on Skills Focus and how employers can access the programme is available here.




Keep up to date with all the latest Northern Ireland Coronavirus / Covid-19 news HERE.


Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed


This website does not share personal information with third parties nor do we store any information about your visit other than to analyze and optimize your content and reading experience through the use of cookies. You can turn off the use of cookies at anytime by changing your specific browser settings.

We are not responsible for republished content from this blog on other blogs or websites without our permission. This privacy policy is subject to change without notice and was last updated on 16/01/2017. If you have any questions feel free to contact Newry Times by emailing

Log in