Run by Belfast Metropolitan College and Ulster University, the academies have had an investment of £4.4m from the government department. Over the next five years, the DfE plans to deliver 37 academies, training up to 120 graduates per year.
Those who train through the academies will be guaranteed an interview at PwC, in competition for one of the 600 new roles that the firm has just announced.
This marks a major expansion for the firm in Northern Ireland. In the summer of 2020, PwC will also relocate its offices to Merchant Square, in Belfast’s biggest private-sector office letting deal.
Academy trainees will receive “pre-employment training”, PwC said, for jobs that are increasing in-demand. Roles include business associates, data analysts, and robotic process engineers.
DfE deputy secretary Heather Cousins said, “This expansion by PwC is a massive endorsement of the talent in Northern Ireland and the Department for Economy’s ability to respond to the skills needed by growing companies in the professional services sector here.
“The co-operation between DfE, PwC, Belfast Met and Ulster University to upskill graduates to compete for 600 new jobs at PwC represents the biggest Assured Skills Academies project to date.
“Assured Skills Academies are a proven and successful model of upskilling the Northern Ireland workforce and ensuring that local businesses have access to the people they need to grow. Since starting as a pilot in 2011, Assured Skills Academies have trained more than 1,500 people, with over 1,200 securing employment across a range of diverse sectors.”
Paul Terrington, PwC’s head of regions, said, “Our Operate division’s unprecedented growth over the past two and a half years has created a consistent demand for more highly-skilled people to fill exciting jobs of the future in Northern Ireland – PwC’s biggest UK location outside London.
“Co-creating the content for these Academies means we are able to play a positive role in upskilling the Northern Ireland workforce, in line with PwC’s commitment to digital upskilling not just for our employees but for wider society.”