The key objective of the EXPLORE initiative is to create a potential new solution to help address the issue of Ireland’s low level of participation in lifelong learning among the Irish workforce, particularly targeting persons over 35 years of age with low skills including digitial skills in manufacturing employment. It seeks to:
- address the lack of digital skills in this cohort;
- provide a novel approach to overcome barriers to participation in lifelong learning;
- address the key issue of skills obsolescence which is a significant concern for employers;
- showcase the benefits of collaboration between local Education & Training providers and industry.
Funding of €720,000 has been allocated to the programme in 2019. As of 31st August 235 people have participated in the EXPLORE programme nationwide with further iterations being rolled out at present.
An independent evaluation of the EXPLORE programme delivered in 2018 is currently underway. The aim of the evaluation is to assess the relevance and effectiveness of the programme. It also aims to illustrate the impact on participants and gather feedback from employers on their experience, and impacts both for their company and also on employees. The report is expected by end October 2019.