Belfast Region City Deal

Belfast Region City Deal (BRCD) is a bespoke package aimed at helping to harness additional investment, create new jobs and accelerate inclusive economic growth. BRCD comprises the six local councils, the region’s two universities and four of the region’s further education colleges, including Southern Regional College.

We have worked alongside partners to secure £1 billion of co-investment. Our shared ambition is to accelerate inclusive economic growth for the region and to deliver thousands of new and better jobs, with pathways and support in place to make them accessible to people from all communities.

This investment will help strengthen the region’s business offer in growth sectors such as life and health sciences, the digital and creative industries and advanced manufacturing. It will also support next generation digital capabilities, boost tourism and support the regeneration of our region, underpinned by infrastructure developments and investment in skills to connect people to jobs and services.

More information can be found at Belfast Region City Deal.

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Employability & Skills

The Further Education Colleges are critical to the delivery of the Employability & Skills Pillar of BRCD. This pillar will put in place arrangements to enable a constant pipeline of talent to support the growth created by the BRCD investments and ensure that the right skills are available within the region to support the emerging job opportunities.

The BRCD Employability and Skills programme has been framed around three areas, within which a number of interventions is contained:

1. Skills for Growth: working with employers to align skills programmes and employment opportunities with the growth in sectors supported by BRCD; helping to create new apprenticeship pathways and fostering development of higher level skills;
2. Skills for Inclusion: creating opportunities to address skills imbalances and improve access to employment opportunities across the region through socially inclusive progression pathways; and
3. Skills for a Digital Future: helping to build our digital literacy from grassroots up and enhancing the digital transformation of businesses across the region, with a specific focus upon smaller enterprises.

More information about the Employability and Skills programme can be found at Belfast Region City Deal – Employability and Skills.

Skills for a Digital Future

The Digital Futures Programme was established as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic began, fast tracking the region’s digital transformation with a joined-up approach to supporting digital inclusion. This was achieved by increasing digital skills and supporting pathways into employment, focusing on current and future employer needs.

The Digital Futures Programme aims to enable graduates seeking careers in the IT industry, or in digitally focused roles, to develop industry relevant digital skills. Supported by the Department for the Economy and delivered by Further Education Colleges, the programme offered training in Cloud Computing, Data Analytics or Cyber Security, followed by a 10-week internship with a local employer to offer practical experience. There was no cost to employers and all Digital Futures participants received a training allowance.

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As well as offering a rapid response to the increasing need for digital skills in the Belfast city region, Digital Futures also offered graduates from non-technological disciplines an opportunity to reskill in an area with greater opportunities for employment.

More information about the Digital Future Programme can be found at Digital Futures.