Private sector companies in Galway are being encouraged to apply to a new training fund, announced this week by Skillnets, the national training and upskilling body. The €500,000 fund is open for applications until April 30 2013.
Groups of companies must join together to form a network to apply for funding. Groups can be formed on a geographical or sectoral basis, once member companies have identified common training needs amongst their employees.
Networks hoping to receive funding under the new round must complete an online registration form by 31st March before then submitting a complete application by April 30 deadline.
Skillnets currently funds and facilitates training through 55 networks of companies in a range of sectors and regions. Each network delivers training relevant to the needs of specific industries and member companies. Networks already active in Galway City and County include: Information Technology Association of Galway (ITAG) Skillnet, Gréasán na Meán Skillnet, Galway Executive Skillnet, and High Potential Start-Up (HPSU) Skillnet
To date, Skillnets has facilitated over 60,000 Irish enterprises to upskill over 275,000 employees. In addition, the organisation has trained over 9,000 job-seekers since 2010.
Under the fund announced this week, Skillnets will make grants available to new training networks to pilot the delivery of training. Successful applicants will be required to provide matched funding of at least 50 per cent of all costs associated with training delivery.
Alan Nuzum, CEO of Skillnets, said the organisation was focusing on the need to preserve jobs and create new jobs through industry-led training interventions.
“As part of our strategy to respond to changing labour market needs, we are supporting companies to deliver training that enables growth and expansion into other markets, and helps to cross-skill and upskill employees and job-seekers,” he said.
“With this new funding round, we are placing a particular emphasis on training for industries not fully serviced by the training networks already in operation. We have identified a number of industries that are key to Ireland’s future economic growth, and we will be particularly welcoming of applications from training networks within those industries. These include: agri-food production; ICT; life sciences; manufacturing, electronics and engineering; internationally-traded services; and the green economy.”
Under this round, funding will be provided for training activities from June 1 to December 31 2013. During that period, supports will also be provided for training networks to ensure they can avail of additional funding streams in future years to secure their sustainability.
“The training and upskilling opportunities provided through Skillnets have the potential to enhance whole sectors of the economy, and we are looking forward to expanding the reach of Skillnets with this new call,” said Alan Nuzum. “We consistently achieve positive feedback from companies already involved in our networks, who tell us how the training programmes they have developed have led to enhanced growth and employment. We are looking forward to similarly positive results with the new networks that will be funded under this round.”
Founder of CARA Risk Management Solutions and spokesperson for Galway Executive Skillnet, Liam Higgins, said he would encourage all businesses in the region to explore the opportunities presented by becoming involved in Skillnets training networks.
“The funding available is crucial in enabling many companies to upskill their workforce in the face of strong international competition for projects that require high-level skills,” said Mr Higgins.
“The training programmes developed are fully industry-led, and this is one of the keys to their success: the Skillnets model allows for the creation and development of training programmes that may not have existed before and that are completely relevant to current industry needs.”