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Derry apprenticeships investigation demanded

16 January, 2008


The Auditor General has been asked formally to investigate the 'scandalous' system which led to major apprentice training schemes being taken out of Derry. During a special Assembly debate on the subject on Tuesday, local Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson revealed that the Auditor has been asked to intervene.

Ms Anderson said:

"I tabled an adjournment debate on this issue because I believe it is scandalous that Derry has haemorrhaged so many apprentice training schemes over recent years.

"These schemes have been taken away from local education providers and centralised in the greater Belfast area where they are operated by private companies.

"Therefore, I was glad of the opportunity to bring these concerns to the Assembly floor and directly to the Employment and Learning Minister.

"I also raised the issue of Carter & Carter - a company which was awarded the mechanics and motor vehicle training contract ahead of the North West Regional College.

"Carter & Carter is a firm which is facing very grave financial difficulties and an investigation into falsification of records.

"As a consequence of that, myself and my party colleague Raymond McCartney have asked the Auditor General to investigate the procurement process which allowed a company like Carter & Carter be entrusted with the future of our young people.

"I hope that investigation will begin in the near future and I will again raise these concerns with the Minister when I meet with him later this month." ENDS

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