Assembly to debate of failures ‘Training for Success’ apprenticeships in Derry
The Stormont Assembly is to hold an adjournment debate on the Derry apprenticeships 'scandal', tabled by Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson today, Tuesday 15th January.
Ms. Anderson said:
"I tabled an adjournment debate on this issue after discussions with local educationalists and trade unionists who are appalled at how Derry is being stripped of apprenticeship training.
"Under the 'Training for Success' apprentice training scheme, Derry colleges and training centres have lost a number of key schemes. For instance, plumbing, electrical and mechanics training have all been centralised in the greater Belfast area.
"It is a scandalous situation that young people from Derry want to secure an apprenticeship have no option but to travel to Belfast or Ballymena.
"There are also serious concerns about the procurement process which led to the training programmes being awarded to private firms. In particular, the mechanics and motor vehicle training contract was awarded to a firm called Carter & Carter which clearly did not meet the tendering requirements.
"Despite this, they were awarded the contract ahead of the North West Regional College which met all the tendering criteria.
"There is now a real doubt as to whether Carter and Carter will be able to fulfil their obligations under this contract because of very serious and well-publicised financial difficulties.
"I am calling for a fundamental review of the procurement system which allowed this to happen. I have also arranged a meeting with the Education and Learning Minister Reg Empey later this month when I will call on him to intervene directly to address this situation." ENDS