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The Department for the Economy is funding 400 places on the online courses which will upskill and retrain people whose jobs have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

With rising youth unemployment, increasing numbers of redundancies and an estimated 80,000 workers currently furloughed in Northern Ireland, Ulster University has launched a range of new free online courses in Computing, Engineering, Energy and Pharmaceuticals. These courses will offer pathways to careers in sectors which require highly skilled, well-paid employees to fill gaps in the job market.

Open to those whose jobs have been impacted by COVID-19, these free online courses are an opportunity to upskill or retrain in priority areas, enhancing employability and future career prospects. As the government looks towards economic recovery these courses will give workers the opportunity to invest in their own futures, widening their skillsets to meet the demands of these growing sectors. 

Courses on offer include a Postgraduate Certificate in Artificial Intelligence (AI) which has recently been identified as one of the fastest growing fields of computing science by the World Economic Forum.  A specialist skill which is in demand both locally and globally, AI has applications in almost every sector including health, financial technology, advanced manufacturing, media, energy, civic society and public policy.

Key skills gaps have been identified within the Renewable Energy and Green Technology sector here in Northern Ireland. Graduates of Ulster University’s Postgraduate Certificate in Energy Management & Green Technology will be able to identify financial savings in energy use, identify new solutions that reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions and be able to engage with sizing, procurement and deployment of new energy systems and green technologies.

Professor Brian Murphy, Interim Dean of Academic Business Development at Ulster University said:

“At Ulster University we are renowned for our career-focused degree programmes which we create and adapt to meet sectoral demand and opportunity. We work closely with partners in industry to ensure Ulster graduates have the skills, attributes and confidence to thrive in their chosen field. These free courses in key areas such as computing, engineering, pharmaceuticals and energy will bring real opportunities to those impacted by the pandemic to upskill and retrain – either by helping candidates improve the competitiveness of their current organisation or by supporting unemployed workers into new employment.

“Informed by our academic and industry expertise, these courses will boost prospects for both individuals and sectors, enhancing the skills of the Northern Ireland workforce and helping local companies adapt and thrive post COVID-19.”

These fully funded courses are part of the Department for the Economy’s £4.6million investment into 3,000 free online training places for people whose employment has been disrupted by the pandemic.

Economy Minister Diane Dodds commented:

“I am keenly aware of the impact Covid-19 has had on the employment of so many people across a wide range of sectors. These 3,000 online training places will provide people with the opportunity to upskill and reskill, enabling them to pursue a career in what are growing local sectors.

“Developing the skills of our people right across Northern Ireland is a key priority for me as we begin the process of rebuilding our economy. This investment builds on my previous announcement in June of £1.7million for online training places and I am determined to keep skills at the centre of our long term strategic plans.

“Courses will be available from both further and higher education institutions and I urge anyone who is eligible to access this free training.”

The Ulster University courses will be taught fully online, delivered by experienced course teams who will support students throughout the programme with a combination of online lectures, tutorials and other online resource tools.

There are also opportunities to progress to full Masters programmes on completion.

Courses available:

  • Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Development (Understanding International Business)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Development (Enabling Business Recovery)
  • Advanced Certificate in Management Practice (Transformation Management in a Digital World)
  • Counselling Modules
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Professional Software Development (Data Science)
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Artificial Intelligence
  • Programming and Cloud Computing Modules
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Composites & Polymers
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Biomedical Engineering
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Energy Management & Green Technology
  • Graduate Certificate Molecular and Pharmaceutical Analysis
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Molecular and Pharmaceutical Analysis
  • Postgraduate Certificate in Pharmaceutical Analysis

Applications are open now, closing 12 noon, Wednesday 14th October.
(Pharmaceutical courses close midday, Wednesday 7th October)