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Dickson Glad to See SME Skills Programme Extended

East Antrim Alliance MLA, Stewart Dickson, has welcomed an announcement by the Department for the Economy that a skills development support scheme will remain free for businesses until the end of March 2022.

Skills Focus is a post-employment training programme that is open to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including social enterprises, with fewer than 250 employees.

Mr Dickson said: “The Skills Focus scheme has been a great help to businesses looking to upskill and reskill staff – especially for those on furlough. In its essence, the scheme enables individuals to avail of bespoke teaching from further education institutions. The uptake to date, certainly suggests a very successful endeavour, worthy of extension.”

Courses are available in accredited and industry-standard qualifications at level 2 and above. Training can be delivered online and covers a range of areas, including customer service, health and social care, leadership and tourism.

Mr Dickson concluded by encouraging small businesses to avail of the scheme: “When restrictions ease, we want businesses to be in the best position possible to hit the ground running. This scheme will be invaluable to many, and I would encourage local companies to investigate what’s on offer.”

More information on Skills Focus and how employers can access the programme is available at:


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