Skillnet Ireland Urging SMEs To Prioritise Upskilling

17 May 2018 | 12.56 pm

Skillnet Ireland Urging SMEs To Prioritise Upskilling

Formerly ‘Skillnets’, training agency launches its rebrand today

17 May 2018 | 12.56 pm

Training and development agency Skillnet Ireland – formerly Skillnets – launched with a new brand and organisational setup today (May 17), as well as announcing an extra €1m in available funding for its various networks.

Skillnet Ireland is a state-funded agency that promotes and facilitates enterprise training and workforce learning in Ireland. It comprises 67 learning networks across the country, which are made up of private-sector businesses that collaborate to address skills needs within their sector or region.

The revamped Skillnet Ireland agency was officially launched at an event in Dromoland Castle in Co. Clare, which was hosted by eight of its networks in the mid-west.

At the event, Brendan McGinty, chairperson of Skillnet Ireland, outlined the new company vision. “This is much more than just a name change,” he said. “It’s about asserting our standing as an established national agency with a deep heritage in enterprise-led training.

Promoting Upskilling

“We are also looking to the future: the challenges of promoting the upskilling agenda are well understood and Skillnet Ireland is well placed to make a significant contribution to the national skills agenda across our economy’s sectors and regions.”

Paul Healy, chief executive of Skillnet Ireland, used the occasion to call on employers to prioritise staff development to ensure future growth and competitiveness.

A recent report into lifelong learning participation among adults showed that, at 7%, Ireland is well behind other EU member states, including Denmark (31%), Sweden and (29%) and Finland (25%).

In order to meet the target set out in the National Skills Strategy, Ireland needs to double its participation rate to 15% by 2025.

“The world of work is changing rapidly and, as a result, people’s skills are becoming irrelevant, redundant or dated more quickly,” said Healy. “Employers are distracted by a myriad of priorities and responsibilities and often don’t give staff training the emphasis it needs.

“If Ireland is to meet the targets set out in the 2025 National Skills Strategy, remain globally competitive and navigate the challenges of Brexit, all employers need to prioritise investment in lifelong learning, now and into the future.”

He added that with Skillnet Ireland now having “a compelling, joined-up brand in the market”, it will be easier to promote the importance of workforce development, and to reach new employers and trainees.

Businesses from across the mid-west region gathered at the Skillnet Ireland event today to share strategies for recruiting and retaining talent within their organisations.

Themed ‘Upskilling the Mid-West – Innovative Ways to Attract and Retain Talent’, high-profile businesses such as Jaguar Land Rover, Lufthansa Technik Shannon and Northern Trust spoke about the challenges of retaining talent and future skills challenges.

Skillnet Ireland also announced that an additional €1m in funding is now available to its Skillnet networks and their member companies who want to address the rapidly changing work environment by taking a more proactive approach to upskilling their employees.

Skillnet Ireland has identified several high-growth sectors where skills are in high demand, including ICT, software, life sciences, bio-pharma, animation and international financial services.

“The impact of AI, autonomous systems and robotics on jobs is impacting on the skills needed and how we work,” said Healy. “Employers need to adapt to this ever-changing work environment, and I would strongly encourage them to take advantage of Skillnet Ireland subsidised training – and to prioritise staff development in every sector and region.”

Photo: Paul Healy, Brendan McGinty and education minister Richard Bruton (right) (Pic: Conor McCabe)

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