The handicraft business is booming in Northern Ireland.

The number of apprenticeship placements across the island rose to 2,800 last year from 1,600 in 2015.

But a growing number of businesses and organisations are finding themselves in a difficult position.

And it’s not all down to the weather.

Employers in Northern Irish jobs are having to deal with a rise in the number of vacancies.

They say they can’t cope and they are desperate to find new workers.

The Business of Life survey found a significant rise in job vacancy rates from 0.7 per cent in 2015 to 0.9 per cent last year.

The survey also found that 1,400 apprenticeships were created in Northern Scotland in the year to March.

But the problem is not limited to the capital city.

In Northern Ireland, there were 2,400 apprentice vacancies in the same period.

It comes as the number is on the rise in Northern England.

It is estimated that 2,200 jobs are at risk across the UK and it is estimated to reach 3,000 by 2021.

The new apprenticeship scheme aims to fill these vacancies and is being piloted across the whole of the island.

A spokesman for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills said: “We have been making it a priority to make apprenticeships more affordable and more accessible for many years.”

The apprenticeship program will allow apprentices to work in the UK, while they build their skills in apprenticeships in Northern Wales, the south and the north of England.

“The Department of Social Development said the new scheme was working.

It said the scheme was designed to support employers who are facing increasing recruitment pressures and to provide the skills needed for their local communities.”

This scheme aims not only to provide new apprentices with the right skills but also the right support,” it said.”

We are working with businesses across Northern Ireland and the South East to provide a range of employment support.

“The scheme has been operating since April and has been working on an apprenticeship platform to help fill the vacancies.

The Department said it is “working to ensure that the scheme’s new apprentices have the skills and confidence they need to find and secure jobs”.

But the Department said there were still some people who would need to leave their local job.”

Many employers are working on their own to find suitable candidates to take the apprenticeship and are finding it very difficult,” it added.

The department said it was also looking at “new initiatives” to provide additional support to employers.

It added that it was working with organisations in Northern and the south-east of England to ensure they have the support they need.

Northern Ireland’s Labour MP for Donegal, Conor Murphy, said apprenticeship programmes were a vital part of the economic recovery.

He said: “”They are essential for our economy and they should be expanded to the rest of the UK.”

It’s a real benefit to the whole economy, and it’s a key part of what we are trying to achieve in the second half of this Parliament.

“However, the Government has warned there is no guarantee the apprentices will find work.

A spokesperson said:”We have a scheme that will see some of the most vulnerable young people in the Northern Ireland economy get jobs and get on with their lives.”

But we must be careful not to get distracted by the new apprenticeships that are on offer.””

We’re working closely with employers and the Department to ensure the scheme has the support it needs.”

A Department of Trade, Enterprise and Investment spokesperson said apprentices were “essential to the prosperity of Northern Ireland”.

“Our apprenticeships are helping people gain skills that will allow them to make a difference in the communities where they live, work and study,” they said.