The development of appropriate skills for the workplace has implications for curricula, programme design and teaching methodologies at all levels of the education system. As enterprise sectors develop and expand, demand for employees with core technical and specialist expertise across a range of disciplines continues to grow. Employers also equally value more generic skills such as creativity, critical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills, and problem solving abilities. The fostering of these attributes and the development of core foundational skills in numeracy and literacy is built through the experience of students at both primary and second level. The wide ranging programme of reform which is being rolled out across all levels of the education system seeks to further improve the quality of the teaching and learning experience for all students and to ensure the ongoing supply of high quality graduates for the workforce.
The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs, which is funded by my Department, also plays a key role in advising on future skills needs and any emerging gaps. Its research provides a valuable input to the development of course curricula and has also informed the development of new competitive funding models of provision to address emerging skills needs, including Springboard, Momentum and the ICT skills conversion programmes and Skillnets. The development of training on these programmes is led by representatives of industry ensuring that training provision meets the needs of the sector.