Thursday, 17 December 2020
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment
National Training Fund
231. To ask the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment the degree to which his Department anticipates re-employment of persons with specific skills after Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [44636/20]
As Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, I am focused on leading our country through the economic crisis and helping businesses survive and supporting people to get back to work. In the Programme for Government, we committed to developing a National Economic Plan. This Plan will set out the pathway to the new economy of the future, the longer-term policies to get us there, while ensuring that our short-term responses are consistent with those longer-term goals.
It is clear that the pandemic has accelerated some deep structural shifts that were already in motion across the economy, particularly when it comes to the twin transitions- digital and green. We know that many of the jobs that exist today may not exist by the end of this decade, but we also know there will be new jobs and new occupations and new businesses.
The National Economic Plan, which will focus on economic, social and environmentally sustainable growth, will help prepare us for these changes and opportunities ahead. The Plan will be published in the new year.
In supporting re-employment after Covid-19, and in particular the adaptation of the Irish labour force to the future economy and world of work, the Plan will build upon the Government’s existing commitment to enhancing the lifelong learning agenda. The objective is to increase Ireland’s lifelong learning participation rate to 18% by 2025.
The Government is supporting participation in upskilling and reskilling through a range of education and training programmes, which are funded through the National Training Fund. These include Skillnet Ireland, the Higher Education Authority’s Springboard+ programme, apprenticeships and digital upskilling programmes such as SOLAS’s Skills to Advance and Skills to Compete. The National Training Fund is also supporting an annual €60 million investment in the Higher Education system, through the Human Capital Initiative.
As part of the July Jobs Stimulus, the Government also introduced a series of initiatives focussed on workforce upskilling and the skilling or reskilling of new workforce entrants and those made redundant by the pandemic. These include:
- 35,000 additional places in further and higher education
- A Retrofit Skills Training Initiative, to support future expansion of the National Retrofitting Programme; and
- An Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme, to support employers to take on new apprentices in 2020.