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New support to help Northern Ireland SMEs rebuild their business

SMEs are currently facing unprecedented challenges; it has never been more difficult to run a local business and more support is needed than ever before to help them through these tough times. The world-leading and flexible online learning institution, The Open University, has partnered with Invest Northern Ireland to provide local SMEs with free training and the learning resources they need to re-power their businesses.

A new innovative learning hub hosted on has been developed by both organisations  to support SMEs to develop skills in a wide range of areas including; leadership, effective communication, people management, strategy development, better understanding technology and digital skills.

The courses are free with no cost for businesses and all employees can participate, with no limit on how many can be completed.

John D’Arcy, National Director of The Open University in Ireland said;

“Working with local business and employers in Northern Ireland, and meeting their skills and innovation needs, is a massive priority for The Open University.  We want to provide flexible, free, high quality options for businesses in Northern Ireland to get through this difficult time and succeed.  This will require innovation and new ways of thinking and with over 50 years’ experience in learning we can help businesses do that quickly and in a way that suits their needs and demands, and this hub does just that.”

“The Open University is in the top one per cent of business schools in the world, indicating the high quality of teaching and impact of our leadership and management offering to industry. Our practical focus encourages learners to think differently, responding to preferred learning styles and pace to suit lifelong learning. This includes people juggling the demands of running a business with many other commitments.”

Niall Casey, Director of Skills and Competitiveness at Invest NI, said:

 “Part of our role has always been to help businesses develop the skills to support growth and remain competitive. In the current circumstances, companies are being challenged in new ways and will need to rethink the way they do business. These courses are designed to help companies and employees adjust and move forward through these challenging times.”

“It is important for businesses to innovate and have the right skills for this new world of working. This dedicated skills training hub, available on, is a free tool for all businesses, with a specific focus on training targeted at SMEs.  It is a pleasure to collaborate with The Open University to create a dedicated skills training platform. It will bring new learnings and expertise to the businesses of Northern Ireland, helping them to diversify and upskill, and ultimately contribute to the regeneration of the local economy.”

Access the hub at or contact for more information

For media enquiries:

Contact Christine Murphy

Communications Manager
Tel 028 9053 6219