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Further and Higher Education; Research; Innovation and Science | Higher education addressment of workforce requirements

To ask the Minister for Further and Higher Education; Research; Innovation and Science the extent to which he continues to identify and meet the demand in the higher education sector, with particular reference to identification of the areas now most urgently requiring employees; if he is satisfied that sufficient supply of appropriately qualified graduates continues to be available; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


My Department is focused on aligning planning within the higher education sector with the skills needs of the country. 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.

The National Skills Council within its remit advises on the prioritisation of identified skills needs and on how to secure delivery of these needs. Key high-level trends identified at recent National Skills Council meetings include automation and digitisation, digital literacy and transversal skills. Information on these trends is then used to formulate our skills strategies and initiatives such as the National Skills Strategy 2025; Technology Skills 2022; Springboard+ and the Human Capital Initiative.

Funding the Future was launched in May 2022. It provides the policy basis for the vision and direction of higher education funding in a sustainable way.  A key element of this policy framework is a focus on driving skills and engagement, with a particular focus on essential public services. Through this policy framework my Department and the HEA will strengthen planning for provision, and alignment between the sector and the national skills architecture, including workforce planning for key public services.

Already the HEA has recently initiated a call from higher education institutions to increase places in the areas of medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, nursing and veterinary.

My Department will continue to advance efforts to ensure that Ireland offers learning opportunities to all who wish to pursue them and produces the graduates the workforce needs with the skills that our economy and society require.

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