Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, T.D. with Margaret O’Rourke Doherty, Image Skillnet and Sean Taaffe, President of the Hairdressing Council of Ireland at the Official Opening.
The Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh T.D. performed the ceremonial opening of a new office development of two Skillnet Ireland Learning Networks based at the Drumshanbo Enterprise Centre, Co. Leitrim earlier this week. National Organic Training Skillnet and Image Skillnet have recently expanded the range of training and development supports the networks offer to enterprise.
Working nationwide with enterprises to develop the skills and talent of the existing and future workforce, National Organic Training Skillnet and Image Skillnet are co-funded by Skillnet Ireland and member companies. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills.
During the visit Minister McHugh met with business leaders from the organic farming, hair and beauty sectors and discussed the skills challenges that their respective sectors are facing. Working nationwide with enterprises to develop the skills and talent of the existing and future workforce, these two Skillnet networks support over 1200 micro enterprises and SMEs nationally.
At the National Organic Training Skillnet and Image Skillnet office in Drumshanbo, the Minister for Education and Skills, Joe McHugh, T.D. said,
“SMEs and micro-businesses are the backbone of the Irish economy and are essential to regional employment throughout the country. Skills provision is key to ensuring that the longevity of our businesses and to keeping jobs in regional areas.
“It was great to visit the offices of National Organic Training Skillnet and Image Skillnet, two national Skillnet networks funded by the Department of Education and Skills based in Drumshanbo and hear how they are supporting businesses in the farming and the hair and beauty sectors nationwide.”
Introducing the Minister, Paul Healy, Chief Executive of Skillnet Ireland said: “I am delighted to welcome Minister McHugh, to visit two of our learning networks in Leitrim, National Organic Training Skillnet and Image Skillnet. Both of these Skillnet Networks operate from a regional base bolstering the local community while simultaneously providing invaluable services nationwide to enterprises.
Together with our 65+ strong Skillnet Learning Networks and working in partnership with enterprise, we will ensure that the Irish workforce will have skillsets in place to drive productivity and competitiveness of SMEs across the wider economy.”
Speaking at the event, National Organic Training Skillnet Network Manager, Sean McGloin highlighted how the Network supports organic farmers: “The National Organic Training Skillnet facilitates its members to work collaboratively to respond to skills needs within their businesses. The networking element of the Skillnet model also allows our members support and trade with each other. This is collaboration is key in supporting small regional businesses.”
Echoing the warm greeting Minister McHugh received from all at the Enterprise Centre, Image Skillnet Network Manager, Margaret O’Rourke Doherty said: “We are delighted that Minister McHugh was able to visit Drumshanbo Enterprise Centre today and see the work we are doing, especially with our new expanded team. Image Skillnet is focussed on creating the conditions where businesses in the Hair and Beauty sector can flourish, driving growth across all regions.”