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Further and Higher Education; Research; Innovation and Science | Supply of graduates and apprentices

To ask the Minister for Further and Higher Education; Research; Innovation and Science the extent to which arrangements continue to be made whereby an adequate supply of apprentices or graduates in the most urgently required areas continue to be available, having regard to the public demand and the need to provide for the future in this regard; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


My Department is focused on driving a skills ecosystem and skills agenda in Ireland which is agile and flexible to priority skill needs, and to changes in the world of work driven by technology, to ensure Ireland has a skilled and productive workforce. Our approach to addressing these challenges is firmly rooted in collaborative partnership with enterprise and other stakeholders, and is central to our economic and social ambitions, as borne out in the 2021 Economic Recovery Plan.

Skillnet Ireland, the National Skills Council and the Regional Skills Fora network all work closely with my Department to foster engagement, dialogue, and collaboration between the education and training system, the enterprise agencies, and enterprise representatives in relation to skills priorities.

My Department’s project with the OECD to review Ireland’s skills approach has seen a comprehensive review throughout the year of these issues. Clear areas of focus emerging include our need to have more dynamic, granular, real-time data to inform how we respond rapidly to industry’s needs, particularly across digital skills demands in all sectors; our intent to continue focus on short, flexible and blended skilling options for individuals entering and for people transitioning in the workforce; and, our ambition to progress ease of navigability through options for skilling and ensuring individualised, continuous learning journeys are enabled, encouraged and as easy as possible to undertake.

The effectiveness and impact of the whole of the tertiary education system – FET, HE & Apprenticeship – is enhanced when education and training provision, as well broader upskilling and reskilling opportunities, are informed by the experience, insights and expertise of the enterprise sector. We will only ensure the best possible skills and talent pipeline through working together and continuing to challenge each other as partners.

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