Skillnet Ireland, the business support agency responsible for the promotion and facilitation of workforce development, has welcomed the Government’s decision to increase its allocation by 28% in Budget 2020.
This represents funding by Government to Skillnet Ireland of €35.9M for 2020. The Agency operates on a cost sharing basis with industry, with the total investment in upskilling by Skillnet Ireland in 2020 likely to exceed €60M when employer contributions are added.
Government has placed a clear emphasis on the importance of skills in assisting businesses to become more responsive to a rapidly changing world. The increase in funding will support Skillnet Ireland in achieving actions set out in Governments Future Jobs Ireland strategy, particularly in relation to SME productivity and digital skills development.
Commenting on the increased funding Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh T.D. said:
“Budget 2020 continues this Government’s determination to develop a world-renowned education system. In a rapidly changing workplace, in-employment upskilling and lifelong learning is now a fundamental requirement for every worker. Through Skillnet Ireland we are making the investments needed to equip Irish businesses and workers with the tools to shape their own future.”
Skillnet Ireland works in partnership with 50 industry bodies and enterprise clusters, providing training and innovation supports to over 16,000 businesses, and upskilling 56,000 workers throughout the country every year.
Speaking after the Budget 2020 announcement Skillnet Ireland Chairperson, Brendan McGinty said;
“Skillnet Ireland gives employers a direct voice in how the resources of the National Training Fund are directed. Independent evaluations of our programmes have consistently demonstrated that Skillnet Ireland’s enterprise-led approach is generating highly specialised knowledge on employment and training related issues, resulting in greater alignment between labour market needs and the responses that are delivered. This additional €8M allocation in funding clearly signals Government’s commitment to supporting the talent demands of Irish businesses.”
Skillnet Ireland’s focus for 2020 will include addressing the technology skills-gaps within organisations, and boosting productivity through targeted workforce development initiatives, particularly for SMEs.
“There are immediate challenges confronting enterprise in Ireland not least of which is the disruptive effect of Brexit, but also the question of how our businesses can seize the immense opportunity presented by the digital transformation. What unites these challenges is upskilling and talent development. We welcome today’s announcement from Government which will enable Skillnet Ireland to further advance our work on these priorities.” said Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive, Paul Healy.
Sinéad Keogh, Ibec Director and industry promoter of the Irish Medtech Skillnet, Connected Health Skillnet and First Polymer Training Skillnet stated:
“Through Skillnet Ireland our member companies determine for themselves the solutions to the upskilling and innovation demands of their sector. The work of our Skillnets has been transformational for companies in the medtech, polymer and engineering industries operating throughout Ireland. It is encouraging to see Government continuing to recognise the value that Skillnet Ireland is creating in our economy, and Governments ongoing commitment to this key resource for Irish business.”
Conor Healy, CEO of Cork Chamber and industry promoter of Cork Chamber Skillnet added:
“Balanced regional growth is vital for Ireland’s long-term prosperity, and developing the regional talent base is fundamental to this objective. Cork Chamber Skillnet offers our member companies a competitive edge, boosting their productivity and staff engagement. Cork Chamber welcomes Government’s decision to increase Skillnet Ireland funding by 28% in 2020.”
John Phelan of Dublin Business Innovation Centre and industry promoter of the Animation Skillnet and Screen Skillnet concluded:
“The technologies of the creative industries are rapidly changing in response to the digital transformation. Companies in these sectors need to constantly focus on innovation and upskilling so they remain agile and globally competitive. Our businesses deeply value our partnership with Skillnet Ireland and our joint investment in the exceptional talent of the creative industry Ireland.”
Skillnet Ireland’s 60+ nationwide learning networks supports 16,000 companies and 56,000 trainees each year.