A new grants scheme has been launched in a bid to address skills shortages ...
A new grants scheme has been launched in a bid to address skills shortages in Northern Ireland's gas industry.
The Training & Employment Agency in partnership with the Construction Industry Training Board is making ?500,000 of grant aid available to assist organisations, businesses and individuals to obtain Corgi (Council for Registered Gas Installers scheme) registration.
David Cooper, head of the building engineering services department at CITB and scheme manager, welcomed the introduction of the new grants.
He explained research carried out and adopted by the entire gas sector here - represented by CITB, Phoenix Natural Gas and the Gas Industry National Training Organisation - had identified an additional 669 operatives are needed to be trained and assessed to the industry set standard to meet the needs of the sector over the next three years.
"With the introduction of natural gas to the province in 1996 and its rapid expansion throughout the greater Belfast and north Down areas, CITB believes that this substantial grant aid will help to address these skills shortages among the local labour force," he explained.
Grants, ranging from ?732 up to ?1,392, will be available for a three-year period.
Alastair Pollock, retail operations director of Phoenix Natural Gas, explained: "This is great news because gas is a regulated industry and it is therefore imperative that all natural gas installers are trained and registered with Corgi.
"Every week hundreds of people within the gas licence area are signing up for natural gas and it is crucial that we have the skilled labour force to keep up with the demand for gas."