Advice and funding for training

Sector-specific skills and training in Northern Ireland

There are several sources of sector-specific advice on skills development for employees working in a particular industry.

Sector Skills Councils (SSCs)

Sector Skills Councils provide sector specific advice on skills development for employees doing particular jobs. They are independent employer led organisations that provide a range of services to help employers to reduce skills shortages and improve learning standards.

Each Sector Skills Council will agree priorities and targets with its employers and partners to address four key goals:

  • reducing skills gaps and shortages
  • improving productivity, business and performance
  • increasing opportunities to boost the skills and productivity of everyone in the sector’s workforce, including action on equal opportunities
  • improving learning supply – to include apprenticeships, higher education and national occupational standards

Access the full list of sector skills councils / standard setting bodies.

Sector Training Councils (STCs)

Sector Training Councils were established in 1994 as independent employer representative bodies in Northern Ireland. There are currently eight in operation. Their role is to:

  • articulate the skills, education and training needs of their sectors in the short and long term
  • advise on training standards required for their sectors
  • work with the Department for the Economy (DfE) and SSCs to ensure that training needs and standards are met

You can find out more about individual Sector Training Councils at the links below:  


CITB NI is the only remaining statutory Industrial Training Board in Northern Ireland; it is a Non-Departmental Public Body reporting to DfE.

The Board has statutory responsibility for 'the encouragement of the adequate training of persons employed in or intending to be employed in the construction industry in Northern Ireland'.

Find out more about CITB NI.