ETB Changeover Suffers Setbacks

education and training boardsIn July 2013, 33 Voluntary Educational Committees (VECs) were replaced by 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs). An ETB is an education authority responsible for education and training, youth work and a range of other issues related to creating a suitably skilled workforce.

The main functions of an ETB are:
– To establish and maintain recognised schools, education training facilities and centres for education
-To plan for and provide education and training that includes education and training for the purpose of employment
-To support youth work services

The sixteen ETBs are:
– City of Dublin ETB
– Donegal ETB
– Kerry ETB
– Cork ETB
– Galway and Roscommon ETB
– Limerick and Clare ETB
– Cavan and Monaghan ETB
– Dublin and Dun Laoghaire ETB
– Kildare and Wicklow ETB
– Kilkenny and Carlow ETB
– Laois and Offaly ETB
– Longford and Westmeath ETB
– Louth and Meath ETB

While the official changeover took place last year, progress has been slow and many of the ETBS do not yet have a website. There have been problems with the changover process with some workers in the ETB’s taking industrial action over failures to reach agreement on transfer of services from FAS to the new further education and training authority; Solas. This action followed the lack of a cohesive planning structure from management dealing with issues such as, filling of vacancies, workloads, and the absorption of Solas staff and structures. The action will lead to delays in further progression of the Education and Training Boards. Discussing the action, IMPACT official Pat Bolger said that “The union remains available to negotiate, but we now need management to move on these important issues”.

With increased responsibility, compared to the previous VECs, and a decrease in the amount of centres; the country awaits to see if the 16 ETBs can complete the difficult metamorphosis and fulfil the needs of Ireland’s knowledge based economy with the provision of an effective, fully functioning education system.

Author: Fiona McBennett

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