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  • Writer's pictureLove Ballymena

Dodds announces third Microsoft Assured Skills Academy

Economy Minister Diane Dodds today announced 20 high quality training places on an Assured Skills Academy with Microsoft.

Focussing on data and AI, the Assured Skills Academy will see successful applicants receive industry-relevant pre-employment training with Belfast Met from 16 August to 5 November.

Participants who complete the Academy are guaranteed a job interview for a role at Microsoft in Belfast. Applications are open to people with a 2:2 degree in any discipline or a level 5 qualification in an IT-related subject.

Highlighting the opportunity, the Minister said:

“I am pleased to announce this Assured Skills Academy with Microsoft and Belfast Met. This is the third Assured Skills Academy with the company after it established a Cyber Security Centre in Belfast in January 2020.

“This Academy is an excellent opportunity for people to reskill for a role at a global software company and I urge anyone who is interested and eligible to apply.”

Gerry McIvor, Technical Delivery Manager at Microsoft, said:

“At Microsoft, we want to ensure that people – irrespective of their age or experience – have the right skills to participate fully in our digital world. With the recent acceleration in digital transformation and the growing number of organisations moving to the cloud, demand for cloud computing skills is on the rise.

“That’s why we’re delighted to partner with the Department for the Economy and Belfast Met on this Assured Skills Academy. Through the Academy we want to help address the digital skills gap in emerging areas of the economy in Northern Ireland by providing expert training in data and AI. By working together on this upskilling initiative, we can help ensure that Northern Ireland is best positioned to fill the in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow.”

The Assured Skills Academy will provide training towards industry-recognised accreditation in areas including Azure Fundamentals, Azure Data Fundamentals and designing and implementing Microsoft DevOps Solutions.

Participants will also receive a training allowance of £155 per week.

Louise Warde Hunter, Principal and Chief Executive at Belfast Met, commented:

“We are delighted to be delivering our third academy with Microsoft which will focus on the growing area of artificial intelligence.

"Our learners will gain the most up-to-date industry relevant training, giving them life-changing opportunities. Participants who complete the programme will be able to go on to gain an interview and potentially a job with Microsoft.”

Applications are open now and close at midnight on Sunday 9 May 2021.

Applicants must hold a 2:2 degree in any discipline or a level 5 qualification in an IT-related subject.

For more information and to apply, visit:

Assured Skills is a pre-employment training programme run by the Department for the Economy. More information is available at:


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