New Government Policy Aimed at Up-skilling Employees

New Government Policy Aimed at Up-skilling Employees

A new policy aimed at developing the skills of people in employment has been developed by SOLAS in consultation with education and enterprise stakeholders. The policy (Supporting Working Lives and Enterprise Growth in Ireland) will be supported by Government through the national Further Education and Training system. The policy includes goals and targets for the period 2018- 2021. The Department of Education and Skills will oversee implementation of the policy with the further education and training agency SOLAS, working closely with Education and Training Boards (ETBs) around the country.

Three primary groups are targeted:

  1. Employees in all parts of the workforce whose skills level is below Level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications. Such employees can access upskilling opportunities free-of-charge across relevant further education and training provision. There will be a particular focus on employees who are in jobs with a low skill requirement, 50+ years of age, or in sectors/occupations at risk of economic displacement.
  2. All small and medium sized enterprises and other organisations with limited capacity to identify and meet skills development needs of their employees. Employers will be supported to develop their training expertise including identifying the up-skilling needs of their workforce and in providing training solutions.
  3. Industry sectors with particular skills needs, arising from emerging opportunities or as a result of economic vulnerabilities. Support will be provided to employers of all sizes in industry sectors which are experiencing changes in work practices, technology and markets.

It is planned that by 2021 over 40,000 workers will be engaging in state supported skills development, 4,500 SMEs will be supported to thrive and grow and Ireland will further enhance its competitiveness on the European and global stage.

Speaking at the launch, Paul O’Toole, CEO, SOLAS said “in partnership with the Education and Training Boards, we are looking forward to implementing this exciting new policy, supporting the upskilling and reskilling of employees across a wide range of sectors and businesses in the economy.”

The development of and implementation of this policy is a key deliverable under the 2018 annual Action Plan for Education. It complements ongoing investment in skills development by employers and existing government-supports initiatives which include Skillnet Ireland, Springboard+, Skills for Work, Skills for Growth, the Regional Skills Fora and Local Enterprise Offices.

Implementation of the policy will be overseen by the Department of Education and Skills and SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority, working closely with the sixteen Education and Training Boards (ETBs) around the country. Targeted companies and learners will access support directly from their local ETB. ETBs will build on existing provision, partnering with employers to design additional supports which will enable a major step-up in participation and engagement.

Lifelong learning and skills development are key elements of the Europe 2020 strategy for generating smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in the EU. The Programme for Employability, Inclusion and Learning 2014-2020, which is co-funded by the Irish Government and the European Social Fund, supports lifelong learning with a strong focus on supporting people to enhance their skills in line with labour market developments.

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