I will give somewhat of a similar answer but I will try to add a few bits of new information.
We have an advanced system of skills provision in our country, whether you look at the success of our secondary school system and the Department of Education, our further education and training facilities or our higher education. We also know, however, that we cannot be complacent. No one owes this country a living. No one owes any of us a living. We can never stand still. A phrase we like to use when talking about skills is that we can be confident but not complacent.
Last week I travelled to the OECD headquarters and met the head of the OECD to commission a body of work to be done by the OECD on our skills infrastructure. I want the OECD to look at what we are doing in this country, what we are doing well and what we need to do better. Crucially, I want to ask it to come up with policy proposals and evidence-based advice on lifelong learning. We do a very good job of educating our children, getting them through school, getting more and more of them into third level and out the other side and on they go. There is more work to be done there but that is going relatively well. Looking at lifelong learning, however, we are not where we need to be. As I said in answer to an earlier question, more and more the learners of today and the learner of the future will be not just 18 or 19; they will be 45, 55 or 65. They will have a job, a house and a mortgage. They could have children and dependants. They will need to access skills and upskilling and reskilling in a much more flexible way. They might need to be provided online, after the working day, remotely or in microcredential form. That is where the benefit of this still relatively new Department can be, in terms of developing the policy proposal on creating a lifelong learning model that works for Ireland. I am really pleased that we have now commissioned the OECD to do that body of work. It will engage with all stakeholders throughout the course of 2022. Indeed, it has already started. I want to be in a position to be able to advise the Government of policy proposals we should consider to improve lifelong learning rates in our country.