Archives For Skill Exchange UK

The UK’s first online skills hub,, has gone live in Belfast following a successful pilot in Ballymena.
Skill Exchange NI is the UK’s first ‘joined-up’ regional employer-to-employer network aimed at sharing skill and expertise through a Not for Profit programme.
Employers of any size and sector, free of charge, can connect directly with a range of experienced professionals in a variety of local, regional and national industries and organisations.
The service is being rolled out across five regional hubs centred in Belfast, Ballymena, Craigavon and Derry/Londonderry. Funders include Dunbia, Harland & Wolff, JTI, Michelin, Moy Park, Northern Regional College, Ulster Bank and Wright Bus.
The decision to form the first hub covering County Antrim/North East last year followed a presentation given by Skill Exchange UK to a group of MPs at Westminster.
The presentation gained the attention of Ian Paisley, MP for North Antrim, who followed up with a series of meetings in London and Ballymena.
Mr Paisley said: “The Skill Exchange team have created an innovative and game-changing idea that will redefine many of our attitudes to employment and skills.”
Rachel Doherty, HSQE Manager of GES Group, agreed, saying: “The Skill Exchange Hub initiative is a fantastic business development and support tool.
“The experience and know-how of local business professionals is shared through this initiative, making quality knowledge and tried-and-tested methods accessible to all – everything you could need to know to develop, enhance and grow your business is available through the Exchange.”
Michelin Ballymena had always considered supporting small and medium sized companies as part of their corporate and social responsibility, according to Kathy Simpson, Factory Personnel Manager.
“Skills exchange was an obvious way to enhance this support while at the same time looking for opportunities to develop our own employees,” she said. “I would encourage other companies to join this initiative to enable the support and opportunity network to grow.”
Philip Flaxton, Chief Executive of Skill Exchange UK, said employers stood to benefit from a wide range of activities such as knowledge sharing, skill development and retention, role placement, work experience, resource sharing, training and business mentoring.
“Skill Exchange NI, which we now plan to replicate throughout the UK, provides a regional strategy which allows the entire employer community an extended umbrella under which to access opportunities without location barriers,” he said.
Andy Mills, Regional Director, Business Banking at Ulster Bank, said: “Skill Exchange is an important programme that will help create greater flexibility and more opportunities for employees. Ulster Bank is committed to supporting business growth and this initiative offers the potential for employers to respond effectively to new avenues of business development.”

Ballymena Skill Exchange hub holds event in Michelin Athletic club.

This week the very first skill exchange hub in the UK, Ballymena hosted an information event for local businesses to find out how they can benefit from joining. The hub was launched last November by the founding partners – JTI, Michelin, Moy Park, Wrightbus, Dunbia and the NRC in conjunction with the Ballymena Council and the Chamber of Commerce.

The hub, which is funded and maintained by the partners provides a free skills and training outlet for local SMEs looking to enhance their businesses. Employees may be seconded into other organisations for free training and advice.

The event last Wednesday night was a roaring success and facilitated potential joining of ten more members to the Ballymena hub.

It was also attended by Ian Paisley MP and our new town Mayor Audrey Wales, both of whom have supported the hub tremendously and helped found it from the outset.
Speaking Ian Paisley said:

“This skill exchange hub is revolutionary in how we should now think of developing our businesses around Ballymena and North Antrim.
I’m delighted that so many companies turned out on Wednesday night to find out just how their business can benefit enormously from being a member of the hub.

I must also thank the founding partners, who not only funded the hub from the outset, so that others in the area can use it for free, but who continue to support and attend these events to help local SMEs grow and prosper their business.

The model enables organisations in the local area to help each other be successful and I count it as a privilege to be involved and watch these companies take pride in each other and in Ballymena.”

All information for the Ballymena Skill Exchange hub can be found at

Ballymena Skill Exchange Employer Briefing Event

On Wednesday 5th June 2013, the Ballymena Skill Exchange hub is hosting an event for all businesses in the local area to find out how you can benefit from joining the hub and using it for absolutely no charge.

The event is being hosted by the founding partners of Skill Exchange UK – Michelin, JTI, Moy Park, Wrightbus, Dunbia and the Northern Regional College and the hub has been financed by these companies for all in the area to use for free.

You are invited to come along and find out how your business can benefit from a range of free resources, training materials, staff secondments and much more. There will be people on hand from all founding partners to explain how your business can take advantage of the hub.

The meeting takes place at Michelin Athletic Club from 530pm – 730pm.

Anyone wishing to attend or looking for more information can contact Chairman Chris Wales at

Further information on the hub can be found at:

Boris backs Ballymena Skill Exchange – Now open for FREE to all businesses in Ballymena area!

London Mayor Boris Johnson has written a letter to our local MP, Ian Paisley, giving support and encouragement to the UK’s very first Skill Exchange UK hub, right here in North Antrim. The hub was launched in November of last year by Ian Paisley alongside some of Ballymena’s major employers, the NRC, Ballymena Borough Council and Ballymena Borough Chamber of Commerce and Industry with the objective of improving skills, driving employment and increasing competitiveness.Boris Letter

The hub is now open to all businesses in Ballymena, Ballymoney, Coleraine and around the North Antrim area, and is 100% free of charge and ready to join. Funding partners JTI, Michelin tyres, Moy Park, Wrightbus, Dunbia and the Northern Regional College have taken it upon themselves to create an innovative and exciting skills hub for the area, through which they hope to generate more business and expertise for the area.

The hub currently offers a whole range of skills and resources open to all businesses for absolutely no charge whatsoever, an incredible free outlet of skills provided by the founding partners. Some of these include management practices, sales and marketing, customer service, production workflow, finance-cash flow, training and many more. All details and an easy joining process can be found at

Before writing in the letter his desire to now bring Skill Exchange UK to London after monitoring its progress in Ballymena, Mayor  Boris Johnson said to our MP, “With the support of employers and the regional college, the Ballymena hub is clearly well placed to play a key role in making the most of the skills of the local people. I wish the hub every success.”

Chairman of Skill Exchange Ballymena, Chris Wales said

“I am delighted to be the chair of the first hub in the UK. I am confident that this initiative will be of benefit to all businesses in the area. Skill Exchange is now in the process of establishing hubs throughout the UK with the Ballymena hub being used as the example of what can be achieved, thus raising the profile of Ballymena as a great place to do business. I urge all businesses to visit the website, see what is on offer and get joined up.”

The MP for North Antrim commented:

“What our local employers, the NRC, Council and Chamber of Commerce have done for North Antrim is absolutely phenomenal. They have created an absolutely free, ready to join skills hub that has a tremendous array of skills and information that all businesses in the area are now able to benefit from right away.

I encourage all businesses, large or small in the North Antrim region, to sign on to the website for Skill Exchange Ballymena and join for free a very special opportunity to develop grow your business with the help of the skills and expertise you may need to prosper. We must do all we can to help our town grow and strengthen.”

Skill Exchange – Ballymena – Boris