27 January 2016 - Government launches Ireland’s National Skills Strategy 2025 – Ireland’s Future

The new Strategy is a key pillar in the Government’s plan to keep the recovery going and build sustainable economic growth.

The Taoiseach and Tánaiste today (Wednesday) launched the new National Skills Strategy 2025 – Ireland’s Future, along with Minister for Education and Skills Jan O’Sullivan, TD, and Minister for Skills, Research, Innovation Damien English, TD, at the Blackrock Further Education Institute, Dublin.

The Strategy identifies Ireland’s current skills profile, provides a strategic vision and specific objectives for Ireland’s future skills requirements, and sets out a road map for how the vision and objectives can be achieved.

According to the Taoiseach, “The Government has a long term economic plan to keep the recovery going and the first step of that plan is the creation of more and better jobs. The ability to attract new jobs, and having our people fill those jobs, is dependent on having a well-educated, well-skilled and adaptable work force. This National Skills Strategy aims to provide an education and training system that is flexible enough to respond to a rapidly changing environment and that can provide the mix of skills needed over the next ten years, and beyond. Our commitment to provide 50,000 modern apprenticeship and traineeship places to 2020 is an essential part of our long term economic plan to reach full employment and is something I am determined that we deliver."

The Tánaiste said, “I am particularly pleased this plan will pave the way to provide 50,000 apprenticeships and traineeships by 2020, which I regard as a crucial element in the range of career options for our young people. In addition to assisting those who are unemployed gain the skills needed to enter employment, the strategy also focuses on the need for upskilling of those who are already in employment. As the economy grows and evolves, those in employment will have similarly growing and evolving education and training needs. Upskilling will be important for everyone in employment, regardless of their occupation or current skill levels."

Speaking at the launch Minister O’Sullivan said, “This new National Skills Strategy sets out the Government's commitment to improving and using skills for sustainable economic growth.  It outlines how we can develop a well-skilled, adaptable workforce that contributes to, shares in and benefits from opportunities of economic expansion”.

“This strategy will ensure increased access to high quality and relevant education and training and skills development opportunities.  It will allow people to benefit from workplace learning and experience, and to enable effective participation by all in the economy and society.”

The Strategy has been developed around six key objectives and a comprehensive set of actions and measures aimed at improving the development, supply and use of skills over the next 10 years.  Key actions in the plan include:

·        Establishment of a new National Skills Council to oversee research, forecasting and prioritisation of skills needs in the economy.

·        Further development of the Regional Skills Fora across the country to support increased employer engagement with education and training providers to meet the skills needs of each region.

·        50,000 Apprenticeship and Traineeship places to be supported over the period to 2020.

·        Further Education and Training and Higher Education providers to produce employability statements for courses.

·        Development of an Entrepreneurship Education Policy Statement which will inform the development of entrepreneurship guidelines for schools.

·        Making sure that all Transition Year, LCVP and LCA students in schools and full-time students in further education and training and higher education benefit from work placements, and tracking this activity.

·        A review of guidance services, tools and careers information for school students and adults to identify options for improvements.

·        A review of the School Leaver Age with a view to increasing it.

·        An increased focus on lifelong learning and a target to increase participation in lifelong learning to 15% by 2025 (from 6.7% in 2014).

 The Department of Education and Skills will provide strong leadership in order to ensure the Strategy is successfully implemented and these actions are achieved. 

 The Strategy will aim to ensure that Ireland’s current and future workforce needs are met through increased participation, educational attainment, skills development and skill use to achieve greater productivity and support economic and social prosperity and growth.

The Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D., commented:

“Winning the war for talent is the key to keeping the recovery going and for future sustainable economic growth.  The National Skills Strategy will ensure our people have the skills they need to succeed and that Irish Business has the skills it needs to expand. 

“The critical success factor for this strategy will be the real partnership between the education and enterprise sectors. I am delighted that this strategy will put in the place the structures to make that partnership a reality. 

“Apprenticeships are an absolute central part of delivering the skills enterprise needs and I would urge talented young people to look seriously at an Apprenticeship as the foundation for a great career.”

The Strategy Report is available at : http://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/pub_national_skills_strategy_2025.pdf