Written answers

Wednesday, 17 May 2023

Department of Education and Skills

State Bodies

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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261. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if he is aware that many State agencies, including local authorities, will not allow for their workers to upskill or reskill by undertaking part-time study to achieve a level 8 degree; if protected time for upskilling and reskilling will be introduced; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23442/23]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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My Department does not have access to the information regarding policies in place in each state agency. 

In relation to local authorities, the local government sector is committed to creating a culture of continuous learning and development so that employees can develop to their full potential.  Local authority employees are encouraged and supported to expand their existing skillsets by attending training programmes or by gaining extra qualifications.

The recently published OECD Skills Strategy review recommends consideration of a range of supports to individuals and employers to encourage the uptake of upskilling, reskilling and learning opportunities.

Government funding is provided under Springboard+ to incentivise the delivery of programmes which support the development of professionals by providing free and subsidised upskilling and reskilling higher education opportunities in areas of identified skills need. Springboard+ courses are open for application to the employed and offer blended part-time Higher Education courses.

Springboard+ 2022 provided over 11,500 places on 310 courses from Level 6 to Level 9 on the NFQ for academic year 2022/2023.  96% of these courses were part-time. 26% of these courses are level 8 and part-time. Please see Springboard+ 2022 Course Breakdown table for further information. 

Springboard+ 2023 will be launched in the coming weeks. Full details on Springboard+, the eligibility criteria and how to apply can be found on the website: www.springboardcourses.ie

The Department is examining the issue of assisting employers with the cost of engaging in reskilling and upskilling. My officials are engaging with the Department of Enterprise on the matter.


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