Written answers

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment

FÁS Training Programmes

11:00 pm

Photo of Fergus O'DowdFergus O'Dowd (Louth, Fine Gael)
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Question 54: To ask the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment if she will divert resources from FÁS to increase the number of training places and PLC courses provided in education by the vocational education committees and institutes of technology; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7423/09]

Photo of Mary CoughlanMary Coughlan (Tánaiste; Minister, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Donegal South West, Fianna Fail)
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The State makes a significant investment in training measures for both employed and unemployed. In order to oversee the efficient delivery of training provision for the employed, an Upskilling Coordination Group chaired by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment was established. This Group is comprised of representatives from the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, the Department of Education and Science and their respective key training providers including FÁS, Skillnets, Engineers Ireland, the County Enterprise Boards, the Vocational Educational Colleges, the Institutes of Technology and the Higher Education Authority.

The purpose of this group is to discuss any issues concerning the provision of training that arise amongst the State's key training providers. It aims to improve interagency cooperation, facilitate the exchange of information on operational and policy aspects and the avoidance of duplication. It also aims to ensure that the impact realised from the State's investment in education and training is maximized.

The Tánaiste recently announced the availability of 51,000 new training places under the FÁS Training Initiatives Strategy. These places are in addition to the 27,000 previously planned for 2009 under the Bridging Foundation Training, Specific Skills Training and Traineeships Programmes. These programmes will provide short training courses for those who are recently unemployed. The Training Initiative Strategy enhances the traditional mix of course offerings and will be delivered through three core-training initiatives, Short Courses, Night Courses and Online Courses. The courses are for highly employable persons who wish to add to their existing skills level and improve their prospects of re-entering the labour market. The night courses offer further flexibility and the online courses provide an excellent option for those who need a fast flexible intervention and who prefer a self directed E learning and blended learning environment.

In the current economic climate it is important to ensure that people can avail of such relatively immediate up-skilling to best position themselves for employment. FÁS already contracts with some VECs or Institutes of Technology for provision of training courses. All of these organisations are working together at both national and local level to ensure that both the education and training sectors respond in an optimal way to the situation we are currently facing.

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