The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, TD, has launched a new policy aimed at developing the skills of people in employment.
Developed by SOLAS, in consultation with education and enterprise stakeholders, ‘Supporting Working Lives and Enterprise Growth in Ireland’ is a new policy which will enable targeted support for vulnerable groups in the Irish workforce. Particular target groups are those who have lower skills levels and who need more opportunities to advance in their working lives and careers and to sustain their employment. The policy also supports small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs ) who need assistance to invest in and develop their workforce.
Supporting those in work to upskill and advance their careers is crucial to making Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe by 2026.
The policy draws on a vision of the workplace in Ireland where upskilling during an employee’s working life is considered normal practice and has a direct correlation with enhanced job security, higher earnings and autonomy at work for employees, indigenous and multinational firms systematically invest in the development of their sta? and benefit through improved productivity and competitiveness of their employees and business and provision in further education and training which supports employee development is flexible, high quality, accessible and relevant to the changing needs of employees, the economy and industry.
Those employees in all parts of the workforce whose skills level is below Level 5 on the National Framework of Qualifications. Such employees can access upskilling opportunities free of charge across relevant further education and training provision. There will be a particular focus on employees who are in jobs with a low skill requirement, over 50 years of age or occupations at risk of economic displacement.
All small and medium sized enterprises and other organisations with limited capacity to identify and meet skills development needs of their employees. Employers will be supported to develop their training expertise including identifying the upskilling needs of their workforce and in providing training solutions.
Industry sectors with particular skills needs, arising from emerging opportunities or as a result of economic vulnerabilities. Support will be provided to employers of all sizes in industry sectors which are experiencing changes in work practices, technology and markets.
It is planned that by 2021 over 40,000 workers will be engaging in state supported skills development, 4,500 SMEs will be supported to thrive and grow and Ireland will further enhance its competitiveness on the European and global stage.