The further education and training (FET) sector plays a critical role in labour market activation and in upskilling and reskilling people. This role is particularly important as we respond to the impacts of COVID-19 and to the skills challenges associated with workplace changes, particularly related to the climate and digital transitions. The national Strategy, Future FET Transforming Learning, 2020-2024 sets out the ambition for the sector and I am pleased that the provision in Budget 2022 will support building the required capacity within the Education and Training Boards. This strategy will underpin the development of new strategic performance agreements between SOLAS and each of the ETBs for the next three years, from 2022-2024.
There are a number of specific expansions being provided for the sector in 2022. The investment under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan is expanding opportunities under Skills to Compete and Green Skills Action programmes while the additional investment in apprenticeships will address the backlog and support the Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025.
The Budget provision for Adult Literacy for Life will enable us to establish the partnership structures and initiate focused coordination support which are critical to delivering on the targets set for adult literacy, numeracy and digital literacy.
These developments, together with the step up in capital funding in the National Development Plan represent our commitment to strengthening FET provision to support learners in every community to gain relevant skills to participate fully in society and to secure sustainable employment.