Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Employers Support Programme

The Department for Employment and Learning has allocated substantial funding over the next 3 years for the Employer Support Programme to support FE College engagement with employers in a variety of sectors, including Creative and Digital Media.
The Creative and Digital media sector includes any SMEs or micro-businesses involved in:
Film, Television, Video production or post-production 
Website development or management 
Mobile phones 
Computer Gaming 
Music Production 
Graphic Design and Publishing 
Marketing and Advertising 
Digital Archiving
Within Northern Ireland, significant capacity exists for companies to enter into new markets with goods and services designed and manufactured locally. It is the case, however, that many companies find significant difficulties with the design, development, manufacture, testing and marketing of new products and services. 

The FE sector in Northern Ireland has the potential to strategically and tactically support small business in addressing these barriers to exploiting innovation.
The College Employer Support Programme has 3 main objectives:
To provide practical support to small business in priority sectors to enhance their capacity to develop new commercial products and processes; 
To stimulate innovation, R&D, creativity and entrepreneurial activity in small business; and 
To improve the FE sector capacity and expertise to deliver skills support to companies through establishing a coordinated, expert service delivery team.
The programme's aim is to meet these objectives by bringing industry and the FE sector together through a range of support services to SMEs. 
These services are available free to business in the first year of the project and include:
research and development (R&D) project support to assist SME's to develop new products and services, especially those incorporating new technologies or business practices; 
industry mentoring to SME's to provide specialist knowledge in technology, business management or international marketing; 
seminars or workshops helping with new developments in the Creative and Digital Media sector; 
development of micro-clusters by grouping of companies, which can collaborate in their services or product ranges to take advantage of international opportunities; 
knowledge enhancement engagements, with FE staff working on site in industry to deliver research and development services; 
industry projects, which allow students to work directly with companies, with support/ mentoring from College staff.
So, any SMEs or micro-businesses involved in the Creative and Digital Media sector who would like to discuss participation in the Programme can contact

Tony Talbot 
to talk about their needs and the best way we can help meet those needs.

The Employer Support Programme is financed by the Department of Employment and Learning (DEL) through its Further Education Sector Employer Support Programme.

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