Fermanagh South Tyrone Sinn Féin Sinn Féin -- Building an Ireland of Equals

Tailor university courses to suit changing needs - McGahan

Published: 3 October, 2014

Sinn Féin MLA Bronwyn McGahan has called on universities to tailor courses to suit labour market needs.

The Fermanagh/South Tyrone MLA said;

"The University of Ulster has announced it will be making budget cuts and will be restructuring and reducing its staffing budget by £2m.

"The university authorities have said they are being forced into this because of welfare cuts. The reality is this has nothing to do with welfare, it is a direct result of the year-on-year reductions in the block grant.

"If there is restructuring at the university it must be focused on meeting the needs of the labour market.

"During the Employment and Learning committee inquiry into careers, evidence outlined the mismatch between those leaving schools choosing certain careers and the actual number of jobs available in those careers.

"It was outlined how our young people need to develop skills that are relevant to the job opportunities.

"Young people pursue educational journeys where they do not find work relevant to their qualification once they leave school.

"The economy is demanding a higher level of relevant skills and economic success is increasingly dependent on knowledge transfer and innovation.

"It has been too easy to maintain the same subjects in Higher Educational Colleges that are already flooded with trained personnel rather than moving to change the curriculum to meet the demand of modern economies. For example there is an increased demand for STEM qualifications. This will create many opportunities.

"I am calling for universities' to manage their budgets in an efficient way and to tailor courses to suit labour market needs."