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NI Economy Minister Gordon Lyons has announced the first two of four Assured Skills Collaborative Welding Academies at North West Regional College.

The first two Assured Skills Academies will see 24 successful applicants receive industry-standard welding training during a five-week course at the college’s Limavady and Springtown campuses, followed by two weeks of consolidation training at one of eight participating engineering companies.

Applicants who complete the Academy are guaranteed an interview for a welding position at one of the companies.

Sinead Hawkins, Business Skills Manager at NWRC, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for new fresh talent to progress in the industry by addressing the skills shortage. This will have a positive impact on the North West City Region’s local economy by feeding into local business anchors. We are committed to providing a skills guarantee for a post-Covid economy and future labour market.”

A new online support platform is offering free videos, articles and advice to anyone considering setting up their own business in Northern Ireland.

Rebel on Demand offers impartial advice on starting up without debt, making sales, and increasing confidence and motivation.

The on-demand service allows users to tailor their learning journey, record progress, and formulate an idea they are passionate about.

Once that creative spark has been found and developed, and is considered a viable career path, it can be explored in more detail with the Council’s Go For It programme and local Enterprise Agency.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said: “Launching any new business idea can be extremely daunting, and this has been a particularly challenging year for local companies. This new online resource is another tool for local Councils who have been working hard to tailor support to meet the wide-ranging needs of businesses across the spectrum.

For more information on Rebel on Demand visit https://www.derrystrabane.com/Business/Rebel-On-Demand For more information on Go For It visit https://www.goforitni.com/about-go-for-it/derry-city-and-strabane-district-council/

The Cathedral Quarter is preparing to welcome visitors for a weekend of entertainment and animation this September and the opportunity to enjoy a visit to its charming historic streets and shops completely traffic free.

A weekend of events is planned for the Cathedra Quarter on 4th – 5th September.

Within the area surrounding St Columb’s Cathedral a small network of streets lies tucked within the City’s famous Walls, where a cornucopia of cafes, restaurants, galleries and heritage venues ply their trade. The area has gained renown as a unique cultural quarter, popular with visitors following the heritage trail around Derry’s most celebrated landmarks, and those seeking out some of the City’s more quirky shops and galleries.On September 4th and 5th the streets of Upper Magazine St, Society Street, Place St, Pump St and Artillery St will close to traffic to offer additional space for a programme of fun animation, street performance, music and outdoor trading as part of Derry City and Strabane District Council’s campaign to support local businesses in the wake of Covid-19.

The Covid Revitalisation and Recovery Programme is supported by the Department for Communities, introducing a range of measures in recent months to boost trade and restore customer confidence. The plans have involved the reimagining and reconfiguring of public spaces, providing more open, customer friendly areas featuring new street furniture and covered areas. Pilot traffic free zones such as the one planned for the Cathedral Quarter will allow venues, organisations and visitors to make better use of urban spaces and will help shape plans for the streetscapes of the future.

But for now it’s all about bringing life and colour back to our town and city centres, as Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Alderman Graham Warke, explains. “This pilot scheme is just one of a full programme of measures geared towards supporting our local businesses and kick starting the local economy after what has been a prolonged period of inactivity and uncertainty.”Over the summer months we have enjoyed some fantastic pop up animation which has reintroduced some fun in a safe and controlled way as we begin the cautious return to normal life. It will take time, but Council has been working closely with the local business community and listening to their needs to see how we can best channel resources to have a maximum impact on the Covid Recovery.”I’m really looking forward to this weekend of activity in the Cathedral Quarter, which is a hidden gem just waiting to be explored. I hope to see lots of people taking the opportunity to visit the area, and to see for themselves all it has to offer in terms of history, architecture, culture and retail.”Business, arts organisations and venues in the area have been involved in programming for the CQ Weekend which will offer a blend of entertainment, extended opening hours, access to attractions, special offers, and outdoors trading.

Communities Minister Deirdre Hargey said: “My Department introduced the Covid-19 Recovery Revitalisation Programme to support our towns and city centres in their recovery. Derry City and Strabane District Council has received over £1.6 million through the programme. I hope that events such as the Cathedral Quarter Weekend will continue to encourage people back into our towns and city centres to spend time supporting our local businesses, and ultimately help to keep our town and city centres alive and prosperous. The continued partnership working between local and central government and the business community will also help local businesses continue with their recovery”.

The Cathedral Quarter weekend will run from Saturday September 4th – Sunday September 5th from 10am – 6pm daily. That weekend will also see the return of In Your Space’s Carnival of Colours to city centre streets, the Walled City Market and some Legenderry Street Food Events on London Street. More Information on all the activities can be found at summernorthwest.com.

Individuals who are exploring the idea of creating their own business in Northern Ireland are to be offered access to a free online business bitesize support service following an agreement by all 11 of its local councils.  Rebel on Demand, an online support service for people who are exploring the idea of setting up their own business, is now available to everyone who is thinking of starting up. The service contains scores of videos and articles, offering free and impartial advice on topics such as starting up without debt, making sales and increasing confidence and motivation. The on-demand platform also allows users to tailor their learning journey and record progress.

Rebel on Demand can assist anyone considering a future in Entrepreneurship, by helping formulate an idea they are passionate about. Once that creative spark has been found and developed, and is considered a viable career path, it can be explored in more detail with the Council’s Go For It programme and local Enterprise Agency. It’s the latest product from the Rebel Business School which, earlier this year, won a prestigious Queen’s Award for Promoting Opportunity.  Rebel Business School co-founder and CEO, Simon Paine, says Rebel on Demand is designed for people with busy lives who want and expect everything to be a click away. “People are very busy and everyone expects services to be on demand 24/7. The difference is we don’t have a subscription fee and we never will. We know that Northern Ireland has had a hard 18 months due to the pandemic and there are a lot of big economic issues to work on. So we want to play a part, encouraging people to start up and contribute to the economic recovery.” 

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District Council, Alderman Graham Warke, said the new online platform would complement the package of support already offered by local Councils. “Launching any new business idea can be extremely daunting, and this has been a particularly challenging year for local companies. This new online resource is another tool for local Councils who have been working hard to tailor support to meet the wide ranging needs of businesses across the spectrum.

“A strong entrepreneurial spirit is essential to any thriving local economy, promoting diversity, nurturing creativity and generating opportunity. I welcome any support for the up and coming new talents who will help shape the future of business and cultivate a strong economy.” 

About the Rebel Business School. Rebel Business School was founded in 2010 by Alan Donegan and Simon Paine and helps people from all walks of life to start their own businesses. Its mission is to change the way entrepreneurship is taught across the world. It has educated over 11,000 people in seven different countries through free events and helped launch 805 businesses in 2020 alone.  In 2021, the company won a Queen’s Award in the Promoting Opportunity category and its work has been backed by organisations including Google, Henley Business School and the Department for Work and Pensions.  

The Rebel Business School is the best business advice that money can’t buy – all of its events are free. For more information on Rebel on Demand  https://www.derrystrabane.com/Business/Rebel-On-Demand For more information on Go For It https://www.goforitni.com/about-go-for-it/derry-city-and-strabane-district-council/

With local businesses facing uncertain times in the coming weeks and months, Derry City and Strabane District Council’s Business Support Team have been working on a special Resilience Programme to help local companies to continue to grow and develop.With COVID19 already having a significant impact on the business world, the programme includes a series of workshops and mentoring opportunities geared towards equipping businesses with the skills and resolve to adapt to the challenges ahead.The Business Resilience Programme is open initially to 15 local companies and will be delivered remotely and safely, using all modern technologies. This will allow businesses to participate fully, whether working from home or from workplaces.

The Programme is part-funded by Council, Invest NI and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Jobs and Growth [2014 – 2020] Programme.

Mayor of Derry City and Strabane District, Councillor Michaela Boyle, encouraged local companies to avail of the support at this challenging time. “Although there is thankfully some financial support now in place for local businesses, many will still face a very difficult time in terms of continuing with the provision of regular products and services.”There are some ways to mitigate against the impacts and Council aim to help where possible in assisting businesses navigate their way around these challenges. It’s so important that we all work together to protect and sustain the NW economy as best we can, and prioritise the small local companies who may be struggling at this very uncertain time.”

The programme will link companies with one one of Council’s dedicated Business advisors to assess the current positioning of their business as a result of the Covid19 situation. This initial assessment will be followed by four remote workshops; Building personal resilience in tough times; Leading others in crisis situations; Looking after your mental health; Managing time and managing projects.Afer this participants can avail of mentoring support to help apply the key learning points to individual companies.Council’s

Business Development Manager, Louise Breslin, said: “These are unprecedented times and naturally many within the business community are daunted by the prospect of an uncertain future – that includes both the young and the experienced, the struggling and the successful.”We want to help build and encourage the mindset that will be needed to adapt and survive, to consolidate and grow. This will demand emotional resolve, a willingness to think outside the box, and  openness to re-invention, innovation and diversification. We want businesses to build on their resilience, seriously consider the options that are realistically open to them and ultimately make firm decisions about the way forward.”We are here to help in whatever way we can, and I would really encourage local enterprises to find out how they could benefit.”


Eligible businesses must be based in the Derry City and Strabane District Council areas and employ less than 50 people.To register, simply contact Jacqui at Full Circle – jacqui@fullcircle.eu.com to express your interest in the Programme. The deadline for submission of expressions of interest is Thursday April 9 @ 12noon