Lyons encourages applications to Accelerate Digital Assured Skills Academy

Date published: 18 January 2022

The Department for the Economy is offering 20 high quality training places in its Accelerate Digital Assured Skills Academy with IT Consulting, Solutions and Managed Services delivery provider Version 1.

Version 1 logo

Funded by the Department, the Assured Skills Academy will see successful applicants receive practical, real world training for roles as Cloud Engineers, Dev Ops Engineers, Software Developers and Test Automation Engineers during an eight week training course delivered by Belfast Met.

Encouraging application to the Academy, Economy Minister Gordon Lyons said: “This is an excellent opportunity to start a career in digital engineering. The industry here is in need of skilled people and this Accelerate Digital Skills Academy will give participants the knowledge and skills they need to compete for a job in this exciting sector.

“Assured Skills Academies have a successful track record in providing people with high quality training while helping employers access the skilled people they need to grow. These training places, funded by my Department, will position participants strongly to compete for a job with Version 1 in this exciting sector and I would encourage anyone who is eligible to consider applying now.”

Participants who complete the course will be guaranteed a job interview with Version 1, although successful completion of the Academy is not a guarantee of gaining employment.

As well as the learning opportunity, participants in the Academy will receive a £155 weekly training allowance, travel expenses and could be eligible for childcare allowance.

Brian Pollock, Portfolio Director, Digital & Cloud Practice at Version 1 commented on the positive news: "At Version 1, we are delighted to launch the first Accelerate Academy of 2022, following the success of our previous intakes in 2021 that not only armed all candidates with highly relevant Digital Skills but also offered each of them a full-time role at Version 1. Offering desirable technology industry certifications and qualifications, the Accelerate Academy offers fantastic opportunities to build a strong foundation of technical skills, in addition to the all-important soft skills highly desired by employers today. We are all looking forward to welcoming the new cohort of Academy Associates and if you’re part of this cohort, we look forward to helping you accelerate your career in technology.”

The Accelerate Digital Assured Skills Academy will be delivered at Belfast Met. During the Academy participants can expect to become proficient in Microsoft Azure technologies, Java, Cyber Security, Software Testing methodologies and Tools, and Project Management and Agile Delivery.

Louise Warde Hunter, Principal and Chief Executive of Belfast Met, said: “Belfast Met is delighted to be delivering training for this successful Assured Skills Academy in partnership with DfE and Version 1. 

“Belfast Met is a skills engine. We support economic development by working with businesses to provide the relevant, necessary skills for those seeking employment. Our learners receive the most up-to-date, industry-relevant training in this growing sector, giving participants vital opportunities to find a job and thrive in the workplace.

“This is a significant investment in future skills that will enable Academy graduates to gain high quality, well paid jobs, and we look forward to welcoming our new cohort of learners.”

Whilst no previous experience is required, applicants for the Academy must:

  • have a 2:2 degree in any discipline or a Level 5 qualification in an ICT or STEM related subject.
  • be at least 18 years old;
  • be eligible to work in the UK. 

Due to the pandemic, training may be a hybrid of onsite and online learning through a virtual classroom provided by Belfast Met.

Applications for the Accelerate Digital Assured Skills Academy are open now and close at 5pm on Friday 25th February.

For more information and to apply, visit the nidirect website.

Notes to editors: 

1. Assured Skills is a pre-employment training programme run by the Department for the Economy. More information on Assured Skills is available on the Department's Assured Skills page.

2.  To keep up to date with news from the Department you can follow us on the following social media channels:

  • Twitter – @Economy_NI
  • Facebook – @EconomyNI
  • Skills to Succeed Facebook
  • Instagram – economy_ni
  • LinkedIn – Department for the Economy NI

3.  For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at

4.  The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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