Skillnet Ireland, a business support agency of the Government of Ireland with responsibility for workforce development, has welcomed additional funding awarded under the Government Stimulus package. This funding will be used to address the profound effect COVID-19 is having on the workforce and the ways in which businesses operate.
The funding will be used by Skillnet Ireland in two key areas:
- An extensive new upskilling programme to support over 4,000 displaced workers will be launched in September and rolled-out across 2020 and 2021.
- Additional funding to provide extra support to SMEs across the economy, with a focus on digitalization and climate action upskilling.
The upskilling programme, delivered in partnership with employers, will provide rapid upskilling opportunities helping workers to secure new roles in their existing sector, or transfer to an alternative industry sector where better job opportunities exist. Skillnet Ireland will focus on supporting people from those sectors most badly affected by COVID-19 including hospitality, tourism, and retail.
As part of the new upskilling initiative, employers will provide job placements and career development supports to those newly unemployed due to COVID-19. Further information on these programmes will be available in early September from Skillnet Ireland at www.skillnetireland.ie.
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, T.D. said: “The development of a highly skilled workforce to support economic growth and career mobility is a key objective of my Department. Skillnet Ireland plays an important role in this process by bringing employers together and giving them a voice in determining skills priorities. The July Stimulus enables a jobs led recovery by putting upskilling and SME supports centre stage. The additional funding provided will allow Skillnet Ireland to launch important initiatives to deliver on our ambition to help get businesses back on their feet and get people back to work quickly.”
Brendan McGinty, Chairperson of Skillnet Ireland, said: “Responding to the COVID-19 crisis is presenting many challenges for Irish businesses and workforce. Additional investment in the upskilling of our business leaders and employees must be a central component of our economic recovery and to help Irish businesses adapt to new economic realities. The Skillnet Ireland enterprise-led model has proven itself to be innovative and adaptable to the ever-changing needs of enterprise and this has again been evident through the COVID-19 crisis. This additional allocation to Skillnet Ireland to address the upskilling and SME support agenda through the July Stimulus package is a demonstration of Government’s ongoing commitment to this critical area.”
Since 2010, Skillnet Ireland has supported over 47,000 jobseekers through a range of innovative programmes. These schemes consistently demonstrated strong employment generation, evidenced through successive independent evaluations. Speaking about the new upskilling programme to help people get back to work to be launched in September,
Paul Healy, Chief Executive of Skillnet Ireland, said:
“We will leverage our industry partnerships across the country to help the workers most affected by COVID-19 to find employment opportunities in new and emerging sectors. In addition to the upskilling course, employers will provide job placements and career development supports. Rapid upskilling and reskilling of the workforce is key to driving the recovery. Skillnet Ireland looks forward to playing our full part in addressing these priorities.”