18 October, 2013 - Board of SOLAS appointed

The Government has approved the membership of the board of SOLAS, the new authority that will be responsible for developing a world class further education and training system.

The setting up of SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority, signals the start of a new approach to the provision of 21st century high-quality further education and training programmes for jobseekers and other learners.  The establishment of SOLAS will also bring about the dissolution of FÁS.

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., – who was one of the first politicians to call for the replacement of FÁS – said he wished the new SOLAS board well in its work. One of its first tasks will be to devise a strategy for the development of a unified further education and training sector.

The new statutory agency will operate under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills. SOLAS will be responsible, in partnership with the 16 new Education and Training Boards, for the integration, co-ordination and funding of the wide range of training and further education programmes around the country.  

The board will be chaired by Pat Delaney who worked previously with IBEC and is a former director of the Small Firms’ Association.

The other members are: SOLAS CEO–designate, Paul O’Toole; Bernadette Brady, Director, Aontas: Paul O’Sullivan, DIT: Sean Burke, CEO, Limerick and Clare ETB; Cathriona Hallahan, M.D. Microsoft Ireland; David Barrett, founder of MBCS, an Enterprise Ireland supported export company; Liz Cassidy, consultant and business coach; Patricia Carey, former President Skerry’s Business College, Cork; Darragh J Loftus, Executive Partner-Manager at VMware, a cloud computing company;  Kenneth Whyte, Principal, Presentation Brothers  College, Cork; Cecilia Munro, Principal, Dun Laoghaire College of Further Education and William Egenton, Managing Director, Dromone Engineering, Oldcastle, Co Meath.

No fee will be paid to the chairperson or board members of SOLAS. A public call for expression of interest in membership of the board was issued through the Public Appointments Service and attracted 105 applications.

SOLAS will be formally established before the end of October.