Each of the 9 Regional Skills Fora which provide regional skills data for a number of sources including the National Skills Council, encourages greater collaboration between a number of relevant stakeholders in each region including enterprise and the Education and Training System. One of the functions of each Forum is to identify and respond to existing and future skills needs at regional level in order to maximise regional development.
In the North-west Region in 2017, among the sectors that have successfully engaged with the North West Regional Skills Forum include, ICT, Retail, Manufacturing, Transport, Hospitality and Financial Services sectors and over 60% of engagement between the Forum and enterprise was with Small, Medium and Micro enterprises.
As part of the Skills for Growth project which is being led by my Department in co-junction with Enterprise Ireland, Enterprise Ireland is providing tailored workshops to its client companies to help them to identify the skills needs of their own organisation by using the Skills for Growth skills audit took kit. Skills data from these audits are then made available for the Regional Skills Forum in that region. Spotlight on Skills is the title for these workshops and a workshop has recently taken place in the North-west region. The Skills for Growth initiative will increase the quality and quantity of data available on skills needs in individual enterprises, to allow for enhanced engagement between enterprise, education and training providers and other relevant members of each Regional Skills Fora.
In addition, in the higher education sector, considerable progress has been made under the Technological Universities process, including in relation to the Connaught Ulster Alliance, consisting of Galway Mayo Institute of Technology, Institute of Technology Sligo and Letterkenny Institute of Technology. Technologicial Universities will have a vital role in driving regional development.