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Further and Higher Education

Dáil Éireann Debate, Thursday - 19 May 2022

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Questions (148)

Paul Kehoe

Question:

148. Deputy Paul Kehoe asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if his Department has plans to offer businesses supports to engage in lifelong learning; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24950/22]

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Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

A core objective for my Department is to ensure that individuals and businesses are offered supports and pathways to quality education, upskilling and reskilling opportunities.

The National Training Fund supports initiatives including: Skills to Advance - an employee development policy framework which enables targeted support for vulnerable groups in the Irish workforce; Skills to Compete – a range of programmes to respond to the need for activation, upskilling and reskilling; Springboard+ provides free and subsidised upskilling and reskilling higher education opportunities in areas of identified skills need; and the Human Capital Initiative (HCI) range of programmes which seek to ensure that the higher education system as a whole responds to the constantly evolving skills needs of the economy.

Skillnet Ireland provides subsidised training to business through learning networks operating nationwide and across all sectors, and have been allocated an additional €11 million under the EU Brexit Adjustment Reserve to support the SME sector.

The pace of change in skills and the work of work is exponential, and only set to grow, as we tackle trends like digitalisation, automation, demographic change and seek to move to a low carbon future. Lifelong, and life-wide learning, is the essential mechanism to ensure Ireland remains a competitive, inclusive, sustainable economy and society.

Through 2022 Ireland, in partnership with the OECD, is reviewing Ireland’s skills strategies, policies and approaches. The primary focus of the work of NSC in 2022 is to feed into the ongoing OECD Skills Strategy Project.

One of the four set priority areas for the review is "Fostering Greater Participation in Lifelong Learning in and outside of the Workplace", examining how Ireland can continue to strengthen our performance in this critical area.

My Department continues to engage with other Departments and stakeholders to assess how best to address these challenges.

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