Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris, and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins, have outlined a €121m skills package as part of Budget 2022.
The package will include:
- €34 million to support and develop apprenticeship including €17 million to address the backlogs in delivery caused by COVID-19.
- A new employer grant for apprentices to drive increased employer participation in apprenticeship, as outlined in the Action Plan for Apprenticeship.
- Establishing a new Apprenticeship Office to lead planned reforms to the Irish apprenticeship system.
- €78 million for reskilling and upskilling including a €22 million Green Skills Action programme and continued investment in supporting businesses.
- €9 million for the delivery of key strategic priorities in further education and training.
- Abolishing the €200 Post Leaving Cert levy for over 10,000 learners.
- Implementing the new 10-year Adult Literacy for Life strategy, including the establishment of a programme office, recruitment of literacy co-ordinators in every education and training board and a new collaboration and innovation fund.
- Establishing and progressing the Irish Prison Service / SOLAS Building Bridges Project to support improved pathways and outcomes for prisoners.
Speaking about the €121m Skills Package, Minister Harris said, “we want to help people get back into sustainable and quality jobs after the impact of the pandemic and crucially to ensure we have people equipped with the skills to help meet demand in areas such as housing, climate change and digital transformation.The impact of the pandemic and climate change will fundamentally change the way we all live and work.”
“Enterprise must respond to these changes through continued innovation, productivity growth and workforce development to be competitive and sustainable in the new world of work that is being transformed by technology. The significant funding allocated is an unequivocal demonstration of the commitment by Government in investing in meeting priority human capital and skill needs to sustain our national recovery and economic development. Budget 2022 will allow us to drive changes in the system and help ensure we have the talent and the skillsets to ensure Ireland’s economic and social wellbeing.”
Minister Collins added, “I truly believe that Budget 2022 is a clear signal from the Department and the education and training sector that we are supporting both our existing learners and prospective learners to achieve and demonstrate excellence.”
“I am convinced we can build a high performing, high productivity, highly innovative indigenous enterprise sector in Ireland providing high quality employment by continuing to build a highly skilled workforce. This Budget demonstrates Government’s determination to support learners in acquiring the highly sought after skills required by these businesses while also continuing to invest in traditional skills and produce a workforce that can deliver all the housing and services this growing country needs.”