Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Questions (280)

Maureen O'Sullivan

Question:

280. Deputy Maureen O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills if he will clarify the position regarding the redundancy and work contracts of employees in community training centres, CTCs, since the transition from FÁS to education and training boards; if his Department will intervene to clarify the conditions of employment in light of the communication breakdown between the Department of Education and skills, the education and training boards, CTC managers and the employees; if he will ensure that all CTC workers experience a seamless transition from FÁS to education and training boards by ensuring the latter honour previous employment contracts under FÁS in order that employees may enjoy continuity during the transition and continue their work with high-risk individuals and in complex situations without the fear of job insecurity; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [21554/14]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

Through a series of decisions the Government decided to replace 33 vocational education committees (VECs) with 16 new entities, to be known as education and training boards (ETBs), and to establish SOLAS to replace FÁS. The proposals in relation to SOLAS, as agreed by the Government, envisage a key role for the ETBs in relation to the future delivery of further education and training in an integrated manner. Significant developments have already taken place with the establishment of ETBs on 1 July 2013, and the establishment of SOLAS on 27 October 2013. 7 SOLAS training centres and their staff transferred to 4 ETBs on 1 January 2014. The second phase of transfer of 12 SOLAS training centres to a further 7 ETBs will take place on 1 July 2014. SOLAS and the ETBs have established a Transfer Implementation Group to ensure that there is a smooth transfer process.

Community Training Centres (CTCs) are independent community-based organisations, each with its own board and governance structure. CTCs are managed locally and funded directly from SOLAS or ETBs. SOLAS has regular meetings with the employer representative body for the 38 independent community boards governing the CTCs and has kept it informed of changes in the Further Education and Training sector. In particular, this has included information on the transfer of all SOLAS training functions, including responsibilities for CTCs, to ETBs. My Department has no plans at present to alter existing arrangements in relation to CTCs and their work in meeting the training and employment needs of early school leavers, primarily aged between 16 and 21, in the community will continue. The Department recently met with representatives from CTCs to brief them on the Programme of Reform for the sector.