The Positive Impact of Skillnet Network’s ReBound Programmes

The positive impact of Skillnet Networks’ ReBound programmes on Ireland’s business community

Sep 23rd, 2020

As part of the ReBound – Back to Business. Safely initiative, a number of Skillnet Learning Networks developed sector-specific responses to support the safe reopening of businesses. Skillnet Ireland and our Learning Networks work with our enterprise partners to ensure a range of targeted supports assist the business community in Ireland through the COVID-19 crisis and beyond. Learn more below about the positive impact that a range of Skillnet Network ReBound programmes had on the business community across Ireland.


Assisting the Childcare Sector

A partnership of four regional Skillnet Learning Networks; Duhallow Skillnet, Limerick Chamber Skillnet, Midlands Border East Skillnet and Next Level Skillnet, in conjunction with Early Childhood Ireland, developed a free online training portal for owners, managers and staff of early years and school age childcare services, the first online training portal of its kind for the 3,500 childcare services nationwide.

Teresa Heeney, CEO, Early Childhood Ireland describes the importance of the initiative, “The Skillnet Ireland ReBound programme was a critical and vital support for our sector and came at a time of great uncertainty when swift action was required. The ReBound initiative has proved to be very popular among our members, 85% of those who registered have already completed the training and the feedback to date has been overwhelmingly positive.” 

So far over 1,200 employers and 3,000 employees in the childcare sector have participated in the ‘ReBound – Back to Business Safely’ programme across the four Learning Networks.

Speaking about the value of the programme, Oaklands Creche and Montessori School said, “The Skillnet Ireland ReBound programme was of great assistance to providers within the childcare sector.  This programme was very informative, it was great to be able to pass the programme link on via email to all our staff members. Each staff member found the course easy to navigate and complete. Thanks once again to Midland Border East Skillnet, and Early Childhood Ireland for developing the course and to Skillnet Ireland’s ReBound Programme for funding it and supporting the sector at this vital time”.

Find out more about accessing this online programme.


Support for Ireland’s Retail Sector

Retail workers in Ireland welcomed the availability of free, online COVID-19 courses as part of the ReBound initiative, created by Retail Ireland Skillnet, the main provider of education and training for the retail sector.

These courses were designed to help both employers and employees to understand the ‘Return to Work Safely’ Protocol in place for Returning to Work Safely, individual roles and responsibilities for workers, and the procedures required to help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19.

Highlighting the impact of the courses, Cathy Kearney, HR Manager, Retail Services at BWG Foods said, “The suite of COVID-19 courses offered by Retail Ireland Skillnet has been a key source of support, guidance and confidence to many of our colleagues in helping them navigate through these challenging times and implement the requirements as outlined in the National Protocol. The online platform provides a straightforward route for learners to access the key information, checklists and materials relevant to support their individual roles.”

To date, over 1,200 retail workers have availed of these Retail Ireland certified courses which covered areas such as; Returning to Work Safely, COVID-19 – A guide for the Lead Worker Representative, Protecting the Business from COVID-19 and COVID-19 Cleaning & Cleanliness in the Workplace.

Learn more about these sector specific programmes here.


Supporting Businesses in the Food and Agri-Food Sector

Food and agri-food businesses from all across Ireland have signed up to take part in Taste4Success Skillnet’s ReBound initiative. COVID-19 has forced the food and agri-food sector to transform working practices, people, and supply-chain management, all at a time when demand for Irish produce is increasing.

The Taste4Success Skillnet ReBound programmes were designed in line with the ‘Return to Work Safely’ Protocol and to help both employers and employees to understand individual roles and responsibilities. Three unique programmes were implemented to address critical areas via webinars, toolkits and online support clinics: Communications and PR Strategy, Safe Reopening of Business, and New Roles and Competencies for SME Owner/Managers.

Gillian Morgan, Morgan’s Fine Fish explains the benefits of participating in the programme, “COVID-19 has had a big impact on our business. We immediately faced a significant downturn in our Food Service business. The practical advice and workable solutions we received through the ReBound programme has been invaluable. The networking aspect of the programme has accelerated my progress with preparing to reopen and relaunch our new products.”

Discover more about the impact of the programme.


Helping the Hair and Beauty Sector Recover

COVID-19 caused widespread challenges for the hair and beauty industry in Ireland. At the start of the initial emergency lockdown the industry was put on hold, and during this time many salon owner/managers took the opportunity to step back and upskill.

To support the hair and beauty industry in reopening safely, Image Skillnet introduced the free ReBound, Recover and Beyond programme under the ReBound initiative. The programme has supported businesses nationwide with returning to work and implementing practical health and safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Speaking about the impact of the programme, Network Manager Margaret O’Rourke Doherty said, “The ReBound programme has been really beneficial. For many salons, they have been able to step back and focus on the health and safety elements of reopening. Initially, when COVID-19 happened it was quite overwhelming. The salons that have gone through the programme have been able to focus and it has given them a template for implementing the measures of the response plan. Some have now moved onto the human resource management side of things as they start taking their staff back on.

Now they are more positive as they move towards business continuity, focusing on their long-term structure and keeping on the right track. That’s where the one-to-one mentor sessions have been really beneficial, giving salons the tools needed to focus and look at things from an outside perspective as they undo the damage done to the industry.”

Find out more about this sector specific programme.


Reopening the Restaurant and Hospitality Sector Safely

The restaurant and hospitality sector have been deeply hit by COVID-19.  Under the ReBound initiative, the Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet provided businesses with industry specific knowledge and skills to reopen safely through the ReBound initiative.

The Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet is running eight programmes under the initiative in a variety of topics, including; Site-specific risk assessments, implementing control measures, staff engagement, well-being and communication, health and safety for customers, workplace policies and operating procedures, change management and managing staff, Lead Worker Representative training, and goal setting and future planning.

Karen Courtney, Owner of Stonecutters Kitchen, Co. Clare who availed of training Developing New Standard Operating Procedures with COVID-19 and Hospitality Lead Worker Representative said, “Our re-opening is going well with some busy spells now that tourism has picked up. We could not have re-opened successfully without the Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet. We really appreciate how the Network accommodated us and helped us get into training early, which meant we were ready to reopen in time. The programmes were excellent and timely given the current climate.”

These programmes have given many businesses in the sector the confidence to reopen safely. Learn more over on the Restaurant & Hospitality Skillnet website.


Leading from Experience, Planning for the Future

Leading Healthcare Provider Skillnet’s free ReBound programmes focused on two areas that would substantially help the working environment of the private healthcare sector; mental health and crisis management. The two core programmes Resilient Minds at Work and Learning from Experience – Planning for the Future and Management Tools for Challenging Times will run until October.

Carmel Kelly, Leading Healthcare Providers Skillnet Network Manager describes the value of being able to respond to the needs of the sector, “It’s at times like this that we are especially proud to be a member of the Skillnet Ireland family, as we can respond directly to the effects of the pandemic and hopefully contribute to making the situation better for everyone in the healthcare sector”.

So far there have been 318 attendees enrolled on past and future programmes and the feedback has been very positive. The Network has been really pleased with the level of interest in the ReBound programmes, and with the high standard of education delivered by the providers.

To learn more about the programmes Leading Healthcare Providers Skillnet offer visit their website.


Helping Gyms and Leisure Centres Reopen Safely

Over 5,000 Irish workers in the leisure industry who signed up for the ReBound initiative through Leisure, Health and Fitness Skillnet welcomed the availability of their free online COVID-19 courses. These programmes were designed in accordance with the ‘Return to Work Safely’ Protocol, to help both employers and employees to understand individual roles and responsibilities.

Employers and employees gained upskilling in the procedures required to help reduce the potential spread of COVID-19. This training covered several key areas; Fitness Industry Lead Worker Training, Fitness Industry Staff training, Fitness Industry COVID First Aid, Reboot your Leisure, Health and Fitness Business and a Framework for Re-Opening.

Participant Brian King Operations Manager, Kingfisher Fitness Group explains, “The training and support given by the Leisure Health and Fitness Skillnet to our sector has been exceptional and helped ensure that all our staff were fully trained and ready to reopen our facilities. We were delighted to welcome back our members to a safe training environment, which is of the utmost importance to every gym and leisure centre in the country.”

Learn more about the programmes over on their website.


Find Your Business Support Partner

There are 70 Skillnet Learning Networks addressing skills needs within a wide range of sectors and regions nationwide. Please find a list of all our Networks here.

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