Written answers

Thursday, 15 October 2020

Department of Education and Skills

English Language Training Organisations

Photo of Brendan GriffinBrendan Griffin (Kerry, Fine Gael)
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231. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills his views on a matter (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [30712/20]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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English language education (ELE) in Ireland is a broad and diverse sector with the vast majority of activity undertaken by private sector providers. I am aware of the challenges that are being encountered in the ELE sector and the substantial impact that the Covid-19 outbreak has had on its students, teachers and providers.

As part of the response to the pandemic, my Department established a specific Working Group for this sector. This group is comprised of representatives of relevant Government Departments and representatives of students, staff and ELE providers.

As part of this process, the representative bodies for ELE providers have engaged with the Working Group surrounding their proposals for supports to aid the recovery of this sector. In this forum, the providers have been advised of the measures introduced by Government to support businesses at this time as part of the wider Covid-19 response. These measures initially included the temporary wages subsidy scheme (TWSS) to facilitate employers to keep employees on the payroll during the initial period of the Covid-19 pandemic in order to retain this link for when business increases after the crisis. This temporary scheme has been superseded by the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) which will continue to provide payroll support to businesses, including eligible ELE providers, and provides for a reduction in Employers PRSI. As part of Budget 2021, the Government has announced that this scheme, which was initially scheduled to run until 31 March 2021, will be reviewed at that point with a view to its extension through the remainder of 2021 if required.

Further to the above, the ELE provider representatives have been advised of the eligibility of businesses in this sector to apply, where appropriate, for further business supports made available by the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland and through its network of Local Enterprise Offices as part of the July stimulus package. A full list of these supports and related information is available for providers here: . Many of these measures and supports have been built upon as part of Budget 2021 including an extension of the commercial rates holiday which will reduce costs for businesses including ELE providers.

My Department will continue to engage with ELE provider representatives as this sector moves towards its full re-opening and continues on a path to recovery.

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