Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Skills Needed to Support the Economic Recovery Plan: Discussion

Photo of David StantonDavid Stanton (Cork East, Fine Gael)
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I will be brief. I am intrigued by what Dr. Power might say regarding rising sea levels. He did not get time earlier. I will go through my other questions before he answers but I will put it to him we need architects and engineers to start designing stuff. We either put up barriers, move to higher ground or put our houses up on stilts. There are many factors involved. What is happening is on the way and cannot be stopped.

I asked Mr. Donohoe about the expert group's interaction with the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment, NCCA. It would be important the expert group's knowledge and research would feed into the NCCA. Mr. Donohoe might tell me what interaction there has been and how it is going.

Where do the witnesses see remote working hubs and spaces going? They are a relatively new phenomenon. There were 12 parliamentary questions on the matter in the Dáil last night, which shows colleagues' interest in it. Has the expert group examined it in terms of future skills?

Have our guests done any work on local training initiatives, that is, programmes for learners who are unable to participate in other training for personal, social or geographical reasons? There are a number of the initiatives throughout the country. These are people the system has failed. Have our guests examined the kinds of skills being developed there and how they can be further enhanced and supported? They are really helpful in picking up young people who might otherwise fall through the cracks, for want of a better way of putting it.

I could not agree more with our guests' comment on teaching to the test. It is important they made that comment. I am aware of youngsters who learn off essays in various languages, regurgitate paragraphs and put them together to answer questions in exams, which is appalling because it does not help at all in critical thinking, analysis and so forth.