Alternatives to Solas (Previously FAS) for skills training

skills trainingIf a career in hospitality, food, tourism, forestry, farming, crafts or fishing is what you are seeking, then it could be time to think beyond Solas (previously FAS) and discover the various other government funded agencies that are out there. Fáilte Ireland, Teagasc, Coillte, Bord Iascaigh Mhara and the Crafts Council Ireland are all directly linked to a specific commercial or industrial sector and offer a range of full and part-time courses.

Fáilte Ireland is the National Tourism Development Authority which works at supporting tourism and promoting Ireland as a high quality tourist destination. It provides business supports to help tourism businesses in managing and marketing their services, as well as running tourist centres around the country and promoting Ireland through the marketing campaign DiscoverIreland.ie.

There is a wide range of upcoming courses and workshops on offer through Fáilte Ireland in a variety of locations around the country. Courses such as ‘Maximising your online advertising revenue’ and ‘Departmental management and supervision programme (restaurant and bar)’ are available and most courses range between 2 and 4 days long.

Teagasc is Ireland’s agriculture and food authority which aims to encourage and support sustainability, profitability and competitiveness. Teagasc is the main provider of further education in forestry, agriculture, food, horticulture and equine services and provide a variety of courses which incorporate management practices and technologies on the farm, discussion groups and project work. All of its further education courses are accredited by FETAC and its higher level courses are accredited by HETAC. Courses are available under the following headings; agriculture, equine, food, forestry, horticulture, machinery, pigs and professional farm management diploma. There is also the opportunity to study online through its distance education course or to take a short course to focus on an area such as artisan food, poultry farming or organic farming.

Coillte is responsible for managing state forests and all related commercial activities. It is involved in operating forestry, land based businesses, renewable energy and panel products and own about 7% of the land in Ireland. It is also involved in training, forest nurseries, the development of leisure facilities and Christmas tree farms and provides a generous selection of forestry industry training courses. Training courses include basic tractor training, landscaping, woodchipper course, fencing course and many more. All courses are FETAC approved.

Bord Iascaigh Mhara (Irish Sea Fisheries Board) is responsible for developing the Irish seafood industry. The BIM strategy for 2013-2017 is the board’s plan to create 1200 jobs and €1billion seafood sales by improving and expanding the country’s seafood sector. The board promotes careers in the catching, fish farming and seafood procession sectors and trains new entrants while also offering courses to upgrade the skills of existing practitioners. Courses on topics such as marine engineering and aquaculture are available.

The Crafts Council of Ireland (CCOI) is the national organisation for developing the craft industry in Ireland, aiming to encourage excellence in Irish craft and design. CCOI offers craft based trainings as well as providing information, exhibitions and organising an annual showcasing trade fair in the RDS, Dublin. Courses include Jewellery and Goldsmith Training Courses and a Ceramics Design and Skills Course. Candidates are invited to an interview and to complete an aptitude test when applying for a place. These courses are 2 years in length and are currently still in progress until 2014 when there will be another intake.

Remember to check with each training provider to find out the specific details regarding entry requirements and training allowances as each course varies. Some of the courses are offered at third level and require to apply through the CAO while others are part-time and open to all. With a selection that ranges from landscaping, marine engineering to goldsmith training there could well be a course for you.

Author
Fiona McBennett