The €3m Training Fund, proposed by the Chairman of the Labour Court in the context of the liquidation of Debenhams Ireland, was endorsed by the former workers in May 2021.
The Fund will be financed from the National Training Fund and the necessary approval of the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has been obtained. It will operate for 2 years providing support for career guidance/life coaching, education and training and business start-ups.
The Fund will be administered by SOLAS with an advisory committee, including representatives of Mandate and SIPTU on behalf of the former workers, to support the implementation of the Fund. The advisory committee has been established with Ms Cynthia Deane, former Chief Executive of Kilkenny Carlow ETB, as Chair. The committee held its inaugural meeting on 27th September.
SOLAS has developed a comprehensive support programme, including training grants, similar to those offered under previous European Globalisation Fund programmes. It has appointed a Programme Manager and is recruiting temporary support staff for the Fund while also establishing its administrative processes.
SOLAS has engaged with the liquidators to identify the individual former workers and contact is being made with the former workers to enable SOLAS compile a masterlist of those involved. SOLAS will communicate directly with the individuals concerned, inviting them to group information sessions, following which SOLAS will engage with the former workers individually.