Skillnets, the State funded, enterprise-led training body improved the work skills of 1,898 trainees in over 13,500 training days across 1,280 firms in the counties of Laois, Longford, Offaly, and Westmeath last year, according to its annual report releasd this week.
Nationally, over €22.2 million was invested in developing the skills of over 40,000 workers in Irish enterprise. This comprised €14.5 million from the National Training Fund (NTF ) and €7.7 million from companies. Some 103 Skillnets networks across the country facilitated training and upskilling in collaboration with enterprise.
Domhnall MacDomhnaill, chairman of Skillnets believes his direction remains the same, despite the downturn.
“The objectives we published in 2007 still remained relevant in 2009 although the economic context had changed,” he was quoted in the report.
“The economic climate has clearly impacted on the ability of enterprise to respond to and afford training needs on a national scale. However, it has also created a need and demand for training and upskilling from many companies which is evident in over 27,000 companies taking part in the Training Networks Programme (TNP ) nationally.”
In a 2009 survey with member companies, nearly two thirds (62 per cent ) of companies (an increase of 16 per cent on 2008 figures ) said that participating in a Skillnets network had created new business.
An unemployed person can attend a range of Skillnets courses at no cost and with no impact on social welfare payments or benefits once they fulfil Skillnets eligibility criteria.
On completion of Skillnets training, one in five jobseekers stated they had since secured work with one in four progressing into further education or training and one in seven becoming self-employed.
“For trainees, it allows them to maintain relevant skill levels at the cutting-edge of industry and for employers it provides them with immediate access to a pool of highly skilled people with up to date and relevant skills now or when needed in the future,” said Mr Domhnaill.