Mr Mark Magill (Ulster)
This presentation addresses the widespread consensus on the value of skills both to the individual as well as the wider economy. It highlights how qualitative evidence from employers identifies skills shortages in a number of key sectors and occupations across the Northern Ireland (NI) economy. However, it notes the gap in long-term quantitative forecasts to assist policy making. The presentation explains how this gap may be addressed, setting out the development of a comprehensive NI skills model, which is integrated within the Ulster University Economic Policy Centre (UUEPC) NI macroeconomic model. The model forecasts the number of jobs which will be created over the coming decade, and identifies the level of qualifications required for each type of job created, which helps to guide key questions relating to skills planning, such as ‘are we producing enough graduates to meet expected demand?’. The research also highlights which subjects are in greatest demand at NQF level 4 and above and identifies the demand-supply imbalances across all subject areas. This research identifies a number of policy issues for consideration, with choices required to ensure that NI’s skills provision meets economic needs. This presentation explains how the project aims to provide detailed labour market information that can be accessed by all relevant stakeholders, which takes the form of a Skills Barometer designed to assist young people in making well informed career decisions, employers to raise awareness about their skills needs, Government to prioritise limited funding and education institutions to tailor their courses and curricula.