Together with Banbridge District Enterprise and Armagh City, Banbridge & Craigavon Borough Council, SRC's Business Support Department helped deliver The Get Future Ready - Employability and Skills Conference – at the Seagoe Hotel in Portadown.

Hosted by Wendy Austin, this event was attended by over 150 local employers, citizens, community representatives as well as stakeholders from across education, training and employment organisations.

Ana Desmond, Assistant Economist from the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre gave a breakdown of the labour market and skills landscape, setting the scene for the conference. Michael Harris, from the Department for the Economy, highlighted the benefit of apprenticeships with Kieran Dougall reflecting on his experience on the Higher Level Apprenticeship scheme. Adrian Farrell from the Business Partnership Alliance spoke directly to the needs and challenges of the retail and hospitality sectors.

The keynote motivational speaker was Barry Winkless, who explored future work solutions outlining the need for a change in the mind shift to fully harness the collaborative advantages in leading people and teams as the workplace evolves over time.

Before closing remarks by Councillor Paul Berry, Vice Chair of the Council’s Economic Development and Regeneration Committee, there was a panel discussion on recruitment trends, attracting, onboarding and retaining top talent involving Mary Meehan, from Manufacturing NI, Harry Hamilton from NI Food and Drink Association, Kim McAllister from Almac and Tracy Rice from Southern Regional College (SRC) who shared new and innovative approaches for the future of work.

The event finished with an important opportunity for the delegates to network and make connections for future business.

Employability & Skills Conference