Ibec has welcomed Ireland’s new National Skills Strategy, which places a strong focus on equipping young people with the skills to gain employment and on the need for employees to keep re-skilling throughout their working lives.
Ibec Senior Education Policy Executive Conor Minogue said: “A changing and dynamic environment means that the skills requirements of the economy are continuously changing. Therefore it is critical we have a workforce that is well-skilled, well educated and adaptable. Through this strategy the Government has identified a range of measures that will make our education and training system more responsive and relevant to the needs of the 21st century workplace.
“The Government’s commitment to review the share of the National Training Fund that goes towards upskilling is significant. Companies and their employees need to continuously upgrade their skills to stay competitive. However, at 7.5%, we are below the EU average when it comes to the take-up of upskilling, and worryingly the gap is widening. The next Government should ensure at least a 50% of the fund goes toward upskilling people already in jobs.
“The commitment to roll out 50,000 apprenticeships and traineeships places by 2020 will result in a stronger and more diverse talent pool. The new business led apprenticeship model covers a broad range of sectors and will be a real alternative to ambitious and capable young people looking for alternatives to direct entry from school to higher education.
“The strategy also includes a commitment to review career guidance provision. High quality in-school career guidance is crucial in preparing young people for life beyond the classroom. However, current provision is uneven and schools do not have resources in-house to deliver the service that students truly deserve. The next government should develop a specialist career advisory service to supplement current guidance provision and provide one-to-one assessment and careers advice to all post-primary school students.”