Isme Wants Professional Training For SMEs

18 Aug 2020 | 04.29 pm

Isme Wants Professional Training For SMEs

Blue Cert would mimic Teagasc’s green certification

18 Aug 2020 | 04.29 pm

Business lobby group Isme is pressing for government to introduce a certification process to professionalise the small and medium enterprise sector. 

The representative body has collaborated with Network Ireland and Griffith College to develop a ‘Blue Cert’ for SMEs, with the objective of increasing the sector’s resilience and equipping it to raise productivity in the economy.

The idea takes a leaf out of Teagasc’s ‘Green Cert’ in farm administration, and the organisation is calling on government to implement the scheme, a proposal for which it submitted last year.

Economist Jim Power said: “Productivity among Irish SMEs is static or falling as is profitability. This is occurring at a time when there is an increasing trend towards protectionism globally; when our nearest and largest trading partner is leaving the single market, and when US and EU Commission trade and corporation tax policies threaten the long-term viability of our traditional industrial policies based around foreign multinational corporations. 

“If we are to scale our indigenous enterprise base, it is imperative that we address latent deficits in managerial skills within our SMEs.”

Isme chief executive Neil McDonnell commented: “The SME sector significantly lags the multinational sector in terms of productivity. This gap has been widely reported on by OECD, and the National Competitiveness Council. Both the Workplace Relations Commission and the Health and Safety Authority have identified basic deficits in the knowledge of employment law and the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 which must be addressed. The best way to quickly upskill management in the indigenous enterprise sector is to encourage a rapid uptake in skills training and life-long learning.”

Isme sets out the objectives for a Blue Cert training programme as:

  • To create an SME sector that is dynamic and innovative
  • To broaden the enterprise and export base to ensure that the economy is resilient, diversified and adaptable
  • To support the internationalisation and market diversification of Irish enterprise in order to make the economy more resilient to external market shocks, such as Brexit
  • To increase the capacity of local firms to absorb and implement new technologies
  • To improve management quality and training in smaller enterprises in order to foster innovation in order to evolve into new products, new markets and new sectors.

Network Ireland president Louisa Meehan added her support, saying: “An industry-supported course that provides training in relevant aspects of running a business would be hugely attractive to our membership of more than 1,300 women across the country.  It makes sense that a well-rounded foundation would help to nurture a strong and resilient SME sector in Ireland.”

Griffith College’s Dr Tomás Mac Eochagáin pointed up the key skills that Isme has identified, and said they would be taught appropriately as a Level 6 QQI course.

“The key skills identified are business and commercial law, the tax system, wages, technology absorption and software packages, engineering skills, marketing skills, treasury skills, research and development capability, staff training, market research and intergenerational business transfer,” he said.

Isme believes that being awarded the Blue Cert, when implemented, could be a necessary condition for qualifying for “schemes, grants and tax treatment”.

Photo (l-r): Dr Tomás Mac Eochagain, Neil McDonnell and Louisa Meehan. (Pic: Leon Farrell/Photocall Ireland)

 

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