Isle of Man invests in training to support growing sectors
Through strong public-private sector collaboration, the Department of Econimc Development has launched a two-year full-time training programme aimed at developing and delivering a local workforce with the practical skills and training necessary to meet the employment demands of the Isle of Man's fast growing sectors.
The significant investment in the "Manufacturing Technician Skills" programme, starting in September 2013, represents another step forward for the promotion of the Island's flourishing manufacturing sector. Building on the success of the ACE (Awareness of Careers in Engineering) scheme that has been rolled out across the Island's primary and secondary schools, the new programme will provide opportunities for employment in certain craft or operative roles as well as being the pathway to formal apprenticeship and technician training vacancies. With an initial intake of 18, plans are under development to increase this figure further in the future given the growing long term need for skilled staff.
Minister for Economic Development, John Shimmin MHK, said: "Developing a highly skilled workforce is pivotal for fostering inward investment and maintaining the success of the Isle of Man Aerospace Cluster as the main generator of growth on the Island. It will also help contribute to the development of technologies and solutions in the manufacturing sector, making the Isle of Man an important player in the world supply chain.
"Currently, 100 per cent of Isle of Man engineering apprentices who complete their training move directly into employment and we are confident that, with the benefit of the Island's business-friendly environment and effective public-private sector relationships, this trend will continue under the new initiative.'
Chris Allen, vice chairman of the Manufacturing & Technical Industries Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, added: "The Island has a strong engineering sector and ensuring the availability of a skilled workforce is a critical factor in our continued success and future growth. We face the same challenge as the UK and indeed Europe in that these skills are in short supply and we are in direct competition with other jurisdictions for skilled people.
"We have worked with both DED and the Isle of Man College to bring forward a local solution, providing the skills and abilities identified by the local business sector as being essential."
In conjunction with the private sector, the department has also launched a number of joint initiatives to address training within the Isle of Man's 'emerging sectors' of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) and e-Gaming.
The department is undertaking an Island-wide survey of ICT skills to plan how best to maximise growth in the sector. In addition, the initiative will be encouraging local businesses to provide work experience, placements and possible apprenticeships.
Shimmin said: "E-Gaming continues to provide growth and now represents 8% of our economy. Indeed the sector created a further 60 new jobs in the first quarter of 2013. The launch of the Postgraduate Certificate in E-Gaming in December 2012 also created a renewed interest in the sector and we now have a core of locally-based participants who are currently working in the gaming industry."