Limerick TD Maurice Quinlivan has stated that there is no point in training and educating people in areas where jobs do not exist, while other sectors of the economy struggle to find workers trained in their field.
Deputy Quinlivan, who is Sinn Féin spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation, was commented on an ESRI report which found that the current PLC education system is not providing the changing labour market with the skills needed.
And he called for more investment for apprenticeship programmes to address growing skills shortages.
“The ESRI report took an in-depth look on how the PLC education system is serving the labour market requirements.The PLC system represents the largest component of full time further education and training provision in Ireland with 32,000 students enrolled and a spend of €160 million a year.
“Unfortunately, some of the conclusions in the report make for concerning reading, as the ESRI found that places in Post-Leaving Certificate courses exist in ‘in areas where they have always existed, rather than because of strategic planning’.
“In addition, the report finds that ‘there is evidence of substantial levels of oversupply in some areas’ while ‘there is little evidence that the number of places and composition of provision is reactive to changing labour market conditions’.
“There is no point in training and educating people in areas where jobs do not exist, while other sectors of the economy struggle to find workers trained in their field.
“The Restaurants Association of Ireland gave evidence to the Oireachtas Committee on Business, Enterprise, and Innovation before Christmas highlighting the skills shortage in their sector, saying 5,000 chefs and 28,000 other workers are needed in the industry in the coming years.
“In contrast, this report finds that the ratio of places to jobs in the childhood care and education is 4:1, highlighting a total disconnect between industry requirements and resulting in graduates struggling to find work in their field.
“It is Sinn Féin’s assertion that apprenticeships are a more suitable form of education and training, allowing students to earn and learn, while also obtaining a qualification and work experience. In addition, apprenticeships are based on finding work with an employer first, ensuring students are qualifying in an industry where positions are available.
“We have been advocating for more investment and expansion of the apprenticeship system, but unfortunately the government is not listening.
“The government’s own apprenticeship targets were 62 per cent behind at the end of 2017, with just 302 of 800 planned students in new apprenticeship programmes.
“Targets will continue to be missed, as the apprenticeship budget for 2018 saw €13.3 million being wiped off previously announced funding for the sector.
“Fine Gael needs to wake up and address the escalating skills shortage, or it will turn into a full-blown crisis,” Deputy Quinlivan concluded.
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