Justice Minister David Ford has highlighted the importance of well trained staff capable of delivering efficient public services.
The Minister was speaking at an event to present certificates to eight staff who had completed an employer led apprenticeship scheme.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) is committed to fostering a culture where staff, at all levels have the support and opportunity to develop skills that are not only essential to improving the delivery of the Department’s work, but also are transferable and can help staff progress their careers within the Northern Ireland Civil Service.
Working in partnership with the South Eastern Regional College, the Department delivered an in-house programme encompassing essential skills and vocational qualifications to enable staff to develop their skills and qualifications in the workplace.
The successful participants, who represented a range of business areas across the Justice family including Forensic Science, Prison Service, Courts Service and Criminal Justice, all reported that the programme has made a positive impact on both their personal and organisational development.
Speaking at the event, David Ford said: “Through-life learning is important to us as individuals but it is vital for all organisations , including those providing public services. Learning and developing new skills helps us to deliver our objectives and enables us to deliver change.
“There is an increasing need for people with ever higher levels of skills in Northern Ireland to help our economy grow and prosper. Employers have a key role to play in the delivery of apprenticeships and I am delighted that we have this innovative scheme in the Department of Justice. The nine participants this year have worked very hard and I am pleased to recognise their success.”
At the event the Minister also announced plans to expand the DOJ scheme during 2014, enabling more staff to participate and working towards higher qualifications.