Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Questions (218)

Peter Mathews


218. Deputy Peter Mathews asked the Minister for Education and Skills the schemes in place to support unemployed persons in upskilling or obtaining a position in the workplace; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11597/13]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

My Department will fund over 430,000 part time and full time education and training places across the range of provision in the higher education, further education and training sectors in 2013 and unemployed participants are prioritised for places in further education and training.

1) Further Education provision

The main providers of FE programmes are Vocational Education Committees (VECs). Programmes are usually certified by the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC) and certification is available for all FE learners. Full-time programmes are: Youthreach, for early school leavers between 15 – 20 years of age; Vocational Training Opportunities Scheme (VTOS) for unemployed adults over 21 years of age; Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) for learners over 16 years of age who have completed the Leaving Certificate (LC) or who are adults returning to education. Part-time programmes are provided under: The Back to Education Initiative (BTEI), free for adults with a less than upper second level education; Adult Literacy (AL) for adults with specific needs in basic skills areas and includes English as a Second Language (ESOL) provision; Community Education (CE) providing informal and non-formal education for hard-to-reach adults.

2) FAS/SOLAS Training services

FÁS Training Services will facilitate unemployed individuals through a range of training programmes that provide industry/occupational specific skills as well as preparatory type training, to enable a diverse range of unemployed individuals referred to FÁS through "Intreo", to gain a recognised qualification, access job opportunities or progression opportunities to further/higher education/training.

3) Redundant Apprentice Placement Scheme (RAPS)

FÁS the National Training and Employment Authority introduced the Redundant Apprentice Placement Scheme in 2011 (RAPS) to provide redundant apprentices with the opportunity to complete the minimum on-the-job training with assessments for Phase 3, Phase 5 and Phase 7 of the Standard Based Apprenticeship Programme. This Programme was extended in 2012 and there were over 2,200 beneficiaries. RAPS will continue in 2013.

4) Skillnets

Skillnets which is an enterprise-led body funded through the National Training Fund (NTF) to provide companies with new opportunities to develop relevant, effective answers to their training and development needs was set ambitious targets for 2013 to train 40,000 persons, of which up to 8,000 will be unemployed.

5) Momentum

"Momentum" has been designed to provide targeted interventions to tackle the skills shortages in particular sectors of the Irish economy where vacancies have been identified and will provide up to 6,500 training places for the long term unemployed. Some of the places have been targeted specifically at young unemployed people. Momentum will be co-financed by the European Social Fund.

6) National Strategy for Higher Education

National Strategy for Higher Education is a detailed framework and range of recommendations that ensures the system continues to respond to enterprise needs. This includes structured employer surveys and interaction, increased work placement opportunities, staff mobility into enterprise and a renewed focus on generic skills. The Higher Education Authority has also published guidelines for the establishment of higher education institutional clusters at a regional level to support enterprise development and employment needs.

7) Springboard

Springboard is a new funding stream that has been introduced since 2011 to address the specific skills needs of enterprise and to support jobseekers to re-skill in areas where employment opportunities are emerging as the economy is recovering. To date more than 10,000 unemployed or previously self employed people have been provided places under Springboard and a further 5,000 places are expected to be delivered in 2013.

8) ICT Skills

A joint Government-Industry ICT Action Plan, which has been developed as a direct response to identified ICT skills shortages, contains a comprehensive range of measures to build the domestic supply of ICT graduates.