Wednesday 24 February 2016


World delegates flew in to Belfast yesterday (Tuesday, February 23) to discover Northern Ireland’s skills offer.

Over 40 delegates from nine countries are here — including Ministers from the Philippines and Ethiopia — as part of a three-day STEM conference organised by the British Council.

The conference aims to showcase how Northern Ireland is developing its Skills system to create one of the most entrepreneurial knowledge economies in Europe by 2030 and includes speakers from Invest NI, the Northern Ireland Science Park and the Department for Employment and Learning.

The programme also features visits to Belfast Met’s E3 Campus to explore their state of the art construction and aeronautical engineering facilities, the Industry Training Board, CITB-NI; and the Deloitte Academy, to learn about apprenticeships for cyber security.

While here, the delegates will also attend events supported by the British Council at this year’s NI Science Festival — including tonight’s (Wednesday, February 24) SciComm Cabaret at the Black Box, Belfast and the current exhibition by Artist in Residence, Gemma Anderson, at the Naughton Gallery at Queen’s University.

Speaking about the visit was Jonathan Stewart, Deputy Director of British Council Northern Ireland.

He said: “It’s great to have such an international delegation here in Northern Ireland, especially for the second annual NI Science Festival. Such visits enable us to showcase Northern Ireland to the world and reinforce our reputation for invention and innovation. 

“The NI Science Festival is a wonderful way to showcase our considerable Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) talent and skills and is vital for our future economic growth and in attracting inward investors to Northern Ireland.”

As part of the programme, the guests also attended a Gala dinner at Belfast Metropolitan’s Titanic campus.

 Speaking about the event was Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry, who said: “Operating in a global marketplace we share the same challenges in ensuring that we have the appropriate skills base to support and grow our economies. Skills in science, technology, engineering and maths are universally sought after and I am pleased that my Department has been able to engage with delegates from across the world to provide an update on the work we are taking forward to identify and address the skills needs to support our economy. 

“To work in this type of international context is invaluable. We need to build on the good work to date and develop stronger international institutional partnerships and linkages.”

The British Council creates international opportunities for the people of Northern Ireland and other countries and builds trust between them worldwide. For more information visit or follow on Twitter: @BCouncil_NI


Notes to Editor

Countries involved in the conference include Ethiopia, South Africa, Jordan, Colombia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, The Philippines, Yemen and United Arab Emirates

For further information, please contact: 

Claire McAuley, Communications Manager, T +44 (0) 28 9019 2224 | M +44 (0) 7856524504 Twitter: @BCouncil_NI,  or Facebook (


About the British Council

The British Council is the UK’s international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We work in over 100 countries worldwide to build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people. We work in the arts, education, English, science, sport and governance and last year we engaged face to face with 18.4 million people and reached 652 million. We are a non-political organisation which operates at arm’s length from government. Our total turnover in 2009/10 was £705 million, of which our grant-in-aid from the British government was £211 million. For every £1 of government grant we receive, we earn £2.50 from other sources. For more information, please visit:, on Facebook –  or follow us on Twitter: @BCouncil_NI