Employers to help shape education sector

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education sector limerick post news education
Minister Richard Bruton.
education sector limerick post news education
Employers to help shape education sector. Minister Richard Bruton.

THE National Training Fund (NTF) is set to receive up to €200 million in funding over the next three years from Ireland’s biggest employers in order to “win the war for talent”.

That’s according to Education Minister Richard Bruton who recently announced a comprehensive review of the funding of the NTF and that an extra €36.5 million will be allocated to the education sector by the government this year.

The joint funding follows a recommendation in the Cassells Report on future funding of the third level education sector and is intended to keep Ireland as competitive a marketplace as possible.

“Ireland must identify, prioritise and address the existing and future skills needs of our economy and society. Winning the war for talent will be crucial to achieving and sustaining full employment, against a backdrop of international challenges,” Minister Bruton explained.

“We need to invest more in higher and further education. It is reasonable to ask employers to contribute more as their future success depends so much on the capacity of the education sector to respond to their needs.

“In return, enterprise must also have a greater role in shaping the type of education and training that is delivered,” Mr Bruton added.

The Government will also contribute €160 million by 2020 to the NTF, as they aim to increase apprenticeships from 5,500 to 50,000 by 2020.

Other plans include the provision of 50,000 upskilling and reskilling places; increasing the number of students from disadvantaged areas attending higher level education by 30 per cent; increasing the number of research masters and postgraduate students by 500 to 2,250, and completing the delivery of a ten per cent increase in the number of employees reached by Skillnets.

Thousands of free higher education places are being available to Limerick people this year under Springboard+. The government programme, run by the Higher Education Authority, is aimed at upskilling jobseekers to work in enterprise sectors that need skilled personnel.

Homemakers are eligible to participate in Springboard+ courses for the first time this year and there is also wider availability for those in employment or self-employment who wish to upskill or reskill in the Biopharma/Medtech and ICT sectors.

Dr Vivienne Patterson, Head of Skills and Engagement at the Higher Education Authority said: “Springboard+ courses are an excellent opportunity for anyone considering returning to work, reskilling or upskilling. There are courses in a vast array of sectors ranging from tech to culinary arts and from entrepreneurship to pharma.

“One of the most successful features of the Springboard+ programme is that 54 per cent of the courses offer flexible provision. This includes blended learning, fully online (e-learning) courses and those that are done by distance education.

“This is a key factor for people in employment, homemakers and for those living in Limerick and the wider area in allowing them to access courses they would not normally be able to,” she explained.

You can read similar stories in the Limerick Post Education section.