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Skillnet Ireland has, today, launched a call for applications to set up new Skillnet Business Networks aimed at meeting key business challenges through talent development and developing a highly skilled workforce.

With funding of up to €1m available, Skillnet Ireland is seeking applications from interested industry bodies or business groups which will complement the work already being carried out across its 72 Skillnet Business Networks nationwide. Industry bodies such as Chambers Ireland, IBEC, ISME, Irish Centre for Business Excellence and the Irish Farmers Association are currently engaged with Skillnet Ireland and see the benefits this brings.

Launching the campaign, Tracey Donnery, Director of Policy and Communications, Skillnet Ireland said: “Skillnet Ireland is seeing a growing appetite from businesses in tackling strategic skills challenges such as digitalisation, leadership development and sustainability. This is a great opportunity for new sectors and industry bodies to partner with us and develop the talent and skills companies need to meet changing business needs. Skillnet Ireland’s enterprise-led model offers businesses a great opportunity to collaborate and design innovative upskilling initiatives.”

Aoife O’Sullivan, Development Advisor, Skillnet Ireland said: “Lifelong learning has never been more relevant for business owners and employees as they need to adapt and learn new skills. The Skillnet Business Network ecosystem plays a key role in developing the talent pipeline for companies of all sizes across the Irish economy. We are calling on business groups interested in establishing a Skillnet Business Network, to apply for funding to establish a new Skillnet network, giving businesses in your sector or region access to enterprise-driven upskilling at a significantly subsidised cost. Applicants will receive our full support throughout the application process.”

Five new Skillnet Business Networks were established since 2020 including new networks in engineering, hospitality and emerging technology.

Shane Beirne, Network Manager for Engineering Skillnet, which was established in partnership with Ibec’s Engineering Industries Ireland in 2021, said: “The area of people, skills and talent has become extremely challenging for the Engineering sector in recent years. Engineering Skillnet works closely with engineering companies to identify their skills needs and design bespoke programmes to develop a highly skilled workforce and talent pipeline that will lay the foundations for future success. We support a broad range of industries including automotive, precision engineering, energy and environment, industrial automation, agriculture as well as core elements of the sub supply sectors including machinery, equipment, and fabricated products. I would highly recommend that any industry body consider creating a network for their sector or region.”

Skillnet Ireland are seeking applications that align Skillnet Ireland strategy designed to futureproof businesses of all sizes through talent development in areas including digital transformation, climate action and business sustainability, leadership development and workforce innovation. New network applicants receive one-to-one support and consultation throughout the process, including virtual information sessions and workshops before the closing date for funding applications on October 14th.

Last year Skillnet Ireland supported a record number of businesses engaging in talent development through Skillnet Ireland, at 22,500 with the majority of them being SMEs (93%). In 2021 the number of people participating on upskilling programmes through Skillnet Ireland grew to 86,500 with a record level of investment of €60 million in talent development from both Skillnet Ireland and private sector companies.

Full information is available at

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