Name of Network: Sligo Chamber Skillnet
Number of members: 350 member companies
Sector(s) covered: Multi Sectoral – including Pharma, MedTech, FinTech, Engineering, Childcare, Tourism and Hospitality.
Year established: 2016
Please describe what your network does and how it came about?
Sligo Chamber Skillnet was established in 2016 to support member companies in addressing skills shortages and assist with regional economic development. The focus of Sligo Chamber Skillnet is to communicate with businesses, listen to their learning and development needs and help with identifying current and future skills shortages. We support businesses by organising focus groups and workshops which lead to learning and development programmes that are cost efficient, relevant, convenient and deliver results. Our proactive approach helps us to respond agilely to our member’s needs.
Can you outline one keyway your network impacted positively on the sector?
At Sligo Chamber Skillnet, we endeavour to provide relevant and timely training for our members. Over the past four years through working closely with industry, we have identified areas where there are current skills shortages and potential future skills needs. Areas identified include languages and intercultural training and leadership skills.
What has been the most transformative initiative in your sector in the last year?
Participating businesses within Sligo Chamber Skillnet identified a shortfall in leadership skills and collaborated with IT Sligo, which developed the MSc in Humanities in Professional Leadership and the MSc in Leadership and Advocacy for Early Years.
To support skills shortages in languages and intercultural training, in conjunction with IT Sligo and the tourism and the hospitality sector we developed a languages and intercultural training programme. Students studied basic French or German languages and learned about the cultural nuances of these countries. These classes were delivered by blended learning – a mixture of classroom and online webinars.
What new trends do you see emerging within your industry?
Preparing for the future world of work is of key importance to every sector. The impact of the current Covid-19 crisis indicates that our economy and the number of people in employment may be adversary affected for a time. This means that areas such as leadership and resilience, together with business continuity planning and remote working, will emerge as key priority areas in 2020.
How is your Network using technology to facilitate learning and development programmes?
For the past year we’ve had trainees partaking in online programmes at IT Sligo. We are currently facilitating a Project Management Diploma with the IPMI with classes held for 21 participants from 7 companies on alternate Mondays in IT Sligo. Following a ban on all external travel and training by 3 of the companies, rather than cancel we have changed the way classes are delivered. Using Zoom a cloud-based service which offers meetings, webinars, content sharing and video conferencing we were able to deliver the training with trainees accessing the live feed from their respective locations. By being proactive and flexible in our approach we were able to arrange this at short notice with no inconvenience to our members.
What skills do you think are most important for a small business owner/manager?
Leadership, crisis management and resilience. Globally as we enter unchartered territory, for example the current Covid-19 crisis these skills will become invaluable for a small business owner/manager.
Do you have any advice for a business that is considering joining a Skillnet Network?
Just do it. All subsidised training is industry-led and delivered by a range of high calibre trainers and higher education institutes. Events are tailored to your needs and can be delivered face to face, online or via a blended approach.
Visit the Sligo Chamber Skillnet page on the Sligo Chamber website to find out more about the courses they have on offer and keep up to date with network news on the Sligo Chamber Twitter and Facebook pages.
Sligo Chamber Skillnet is co-funded by Skillnet Ireland and member companies. Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills.