01 June, 2010 - Tánaiste announces details of €20million training fund

Labour Market Activation Fund to provide 6,589 placesThe Tánaiste and Minister for Education and Skills, Mary Coughlan T.D. has today announced that some 6,589 training places will be made available to the unemployed under the Labour Market Activation Fund, 2010.Some €20million has been ring-fenced to provide the courses in a range of different locations targeting the less-skilled, and those formerly employed in declining sectors such as construction, retail and manufacturing, with particular emphasis on the under 35s and the long-term unemployed. Following an open tender competition in which 370 tenders were received, the contracts are being awarded to organisations across the private, not-for-profit and public sectors to support specific training and education programmes for priority groups of the unemployed.  Making the announcement the Tánaiste said: "We put the Activation Fund in place to stimulate innovation in the provision of training and activation measures for jobseekers seeking to up-skill and get back into work. The response to the call for proposals for fund support exceeded the most optimistic expectations", she said, "and the overall high standard of tenders received made the task of selecting the successful proposals all the more challenging. I congratulate the successful training and education providers who participated in a very competitive process." Commenting on the measures to be supported the Tánaiste pointed out that three-quarters of available places would be aimed at those with qualifications at or below Leaving Certificate level. "Through this Fund we will be actively supporting a wide variety of participant-centred programmes aimed at improving the employability of jobseekers through  'progression pathways' to training, education and employment opportunities", she said.
 
The Tánaiste observed that for those with higher-level qualifications wishing to re-skill there was an exciting mix of programmes on offer covering a broad spectrum of activities in potential high growth areas of the economy. "These programmes very much fit with the Government's objective of strengthening our human capital by enhancing education and skills levels in line with the national Skills Strategy and the needs of the 'Smart Economy'. This is essential in order that Ireland becomes more competitive and can take advantage of improved economic conditions, strong signs of which are already evident", the Tánaiste said.Addressing the potential participants on Activation Fund programmes, the Tánaiste encouraged them to consider all of the options on offer and respond positively to providers who would be actively seeking to enrol them on courses over the coming weeks. "The real, tangible outcomes I wish to see from the programmes are those that make a real difference to jobseekers, empowering them with the self-confidence and skills to avoid the trap of long-term  unemployment by creating clear pathways to further education and training needed in order to be in a more employable position as the economy returns to stability and growth", the Tánaiste concluded.The results of the competitive tender process have been sent to tenderers. The Tánaiste also announced that, while the €20million funding is fully committed, savings or efficiencies in training and activation spending this year could result in a further allocation of funding to other providers who tendered under the scheme later this year. The 6,589 additional places provided under this scheme brings to more than 160,000, the number of places provided by this Government this year to train, and provide work experience for, those who find themselves unemployed.ENDS Attached is a list of the successful projects under the Labour Market Activation Fund, 2010