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Anderson makes apprentices plea

18 March, 2008

Apprenticeship training should be returned to the North West Regional College following the decision to end a contract with controversial training provider, Carter and Carter, Foyle Sinn Féin MLA Martina Anderson has said.

Ms. Anderson commented:

"The Department has confirmed that Carter and Carter's contract to provide mechanics training has been cancelled following an inspection which revealed a number of inadequacies in the service they were providing.

"However, the future of our young people should not have been put in the hands of a company like Carter and Carter in the first place.

"Carter and Carter is a company in very serious financial difficulties, they have no track record of providing training here yet they were awarded this contract ahead of the North West Regional College which has been providing this service for years.

"The needs of our young people should be the only criteria when it comes to such decisions and that is why Sinn Féin has been so vocal on this issue. We have taken it to the media, we have tabled debates in the assembly and I met with Minister Reg Empey to outline our concerns.

"I am glad that pressure has had an impact and Carter and Carter have been removed. However, the minister also needs to look closely at the wider policy which has seen the provision of training effectively outsourced and privatised.

"I will also be calling on him to make a statement explaining what will happen now and if the contract will return to the North West regional College.

"This disruption must not be allowed to affect the students who have already begun their training and the Minister should ensure that the contract now goes to those who can deliver it in the best interests of the young people." ENDS

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