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Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins T.D. joined Skillnet Ireland and Chambers Ireland to launch the ‘Sustainable Leaders Programme’. Developed as part of Skillnet Ireland’s ‘Climate Ready Academy’, the new programme will assist businesses in understanding and embracing sustainable business practices that will contribute to achieving a carbon neutral economy.

The transition to a low-carbon economy requires structural change across many sectors, with new job roles and new business models required. The ’Sustainable Leaders Programme’ will combine the reach of Chambers Ireland – 40 member chambers across every major town, city and region of the island – with the expertise of Skillnet Ireland to help businesses meet the challenges of transitioning to sustainable business models.

Developed with the support of leading sustainability experts, the new programme is fully funded and available to eligible businesses nationwide. Participants will learn the key principles of sustainable resource management and the actions that are required to incorporate and embed sustainability strategies into their business models. Delivered through a series of workshops over a 12-week period, this programme is a practical way to help business leaders understand how to actively lead sustainability practises in their organisations.

Speaking at the launch, Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins T.D. said: “The threat posed by climate change is presenting new challenges for Ireland and its businesses. It’s vital that we are ambitious in meeting these challenges, and the actions taken by business will be critical to our success. My Department and I are pleased to support Skillnet Ireland and Chambers Ireland in offering this practical and innovative solution that will directly help our business leaders to understand and adopt more sustainable practices now and into the future.”

Paul Healy, Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive, said: “Our national commitments to transition to a low carbon and sustainable economy are hugely ambitious, and rightly so. Our ability to deliver upon those targets will to a significant extent depend on the resolve of the business community. Developing the talent within industry to meet this challenge is essential. Through our Climate Ready initiative and the ‘Sustainable Leaders Programme’ we are matching that ambition by empowering leaders to shape the future of their own businesses, to make their businesses more sustainable and efficient, and in doing contribute to the global effort to arrest the effects of climate change.”

Ian Talbot, Chambers Ireland Chief Executive said: “Climate change will have a significant impact on all business in the future. Preparing for this change is critical – and we know from working in close partnership with our 10,000 members that beginning that journey and getting it right is a major part of the challenge. The ‘Sustainable Leaders Programme’ will support businesses across Ireland in taking the next step towards a sustainable future by offering practical solutions with expert guidance specific to their needs. By aligning our strategic priorities with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, our aim is to make Ireland a better place to live, work and do business.”

Ken Stockil, Climate Ready Academy said: “In the wake of COP26, the pressure is on for business leaders to make positive steps towards combating climate change. The ‘Sustainable Leaders Programme’ is designed to support businesses to tackle the challenges head on and maximise arising opportunities. As sectors of the economy transition to low-carbon models, the demands for innovation, enterprises and talent will increase. By collaborating with industries at the forefront of this challenge, the ‘Sustainable Leaders Programme’ delivers agile and responsive solutions that meet these evolving demands.”

Climate Ready supports the aims of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science’s Statement of Strategy (2021-2023) in respect of climate action, ensuring the provision of a workforce skilled in sustainable techniques and technologies.

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