Enterprise, Trade and Employment | To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment the degree to which the needs of employers and employees are being met in an organised way to maximise opportunities arising from the post-pandemic recovery
To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise; Trade and Employment the degree to which the needs of employers and employees are being met in an organised way to maximise opportunities arising from the post-pandemic recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
My Department and I are aware that it is essential that Irish enterprise has access to high quality, adaptable and flexible talent, and that workers have the opportunity to upskill or reskill in areas of identified skills needs for the Irish economy.
This is critical at a time when the digital and green transitions, and their associated behavioural changes, are altering the economy and leading to permanent changes in our labour market and business models. Not all jobs will return as we recover from the pandemic, while embracing these transitions will open up substantial new employment opportunities, as well as potential skills mismatches as these opportunities emerge.
This is the basis of the approach set out in the Government’s Economic Recovery Plan, which is supporting the transition of Ireland’s economy and workforce to the new digital and green economies. This goal is being realised through ongoing support for people in securing and remaining in sustainable and quality employment, in areas of identified skills needs for business. This is being achieved in particular through the combination of 50,000 upskilling and reskilling opportunities set out in the Recovery Plan, as well as increased labour market activation interventions through the Government’s Pathways to Work 2021-2025 strategy.
This targeted approach to upskilling and reskilling is building upon the longstanding collaboration between my Department, as well as its enterprise agencies, with the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science and the wider education and training system, with a view to building and retaining a highly skilled indigenous workforce to serve the needs of the economy.
Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland engage on an ongoing basis with education and training providers on behalf of their client companies, and have worked to develop bespoke provision to meet emerging skills needs, in particular through new Apprenticeship and Skillnet Ireland programmes.
My Department and its enterprise agencies actively participate in Ireland’s responsive National Skills Architecture, which aims to ensure that education and training provision is optimally aligned with identified skills needs across the enterprise base. This architecture is overseen by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.
My Department hosts the Secretariat to the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN), the independent group which advises the Government on the current and future skills needs of Ireland’s economy, and whose members include relevant Government Departments, the enterprise development agencies, Ireland’s agencies for Higher Education and Further Education and Training, and representation from the trade union and business communities. The EGFSN forms a key part of this responsive skills architecture.
Through its horizon scanning and thematic studies at sectoral and occupational level, the development of which involves comprehensive engagement with stakeholders across the public sector, enterprise and the education and training system, the work of the EGFSN- together with the labour market intelligence of the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit in SOLAS- helps inform the work of the National Skills Council, which is comprised of the chief skills policy stakeholders from across the public and private sectors.
The membership of this Council, which is serviced by the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, includes the Secretary General of my Department, as well as the Chief Executives of Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland. The Council advises on the allocation of resources to address identified and emerging skills needs across the economy, in particular through the National Training Fund, while also working to maximise the responses to these needs by education and training providers.
The Fund, which has budgeted for expenditure of €752m in 2022, supports competitive funding based programmes such as Springboard+, the Human Capital Initiative, Skillnet Ireland, cross sectoral apprenticeships, and SOLAS’ Skills to Compete and Skills to Advance programmes. This funding supports either fully free or heavily subsidised opportunities in areas of identified skills needs, which serves to incentivise and maximise engagement by employers and workers.
The work of the Council is also informed by the activities of the network of nine Regional Skills Fora, which work to address the skills needs of regional enterprise by enhancing linkages and engagement between local education and training providers and employers, and by helping employers better understand and access the full range of services available across the education and training system. Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and the relevant Local Enterprise Offices are represented on each of the nine Fora.
The Fora in particular have facilitated Enterprise Ireland’s Spotlight on Skills workshops, a partnership with the Irish Management Institute, which continue to support employers in understanding and planning for the skills needs of their enterprises, and through subsequent engagement with the Regional Skills Manager, address these needs through local education and training providers.
Leave a Reply