Skillnet Ireland launches €2 million fund to establish new learning networks

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Skillnet Ireland launches €2 million fund to establish new learning networks

Skillnet Ireland has launched its annual call for applications to set up new Skillnet learning networks in Tipperary aimed at meeting business challenges and developing a highly skilled workforce. A Skillnet Network is a collection of businesses that collaborate on learning and training opportunities to address skills gaps within their sector or region.

With funding of up to €2m available, Skillnet Ireland is seeking applications from interested business groups and industry bodies in Tipperary which will complement the work already being carried out across its 70 Skillnet Networks nationwide.

Launching the campaign, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris T.D., said: “Covid-19 has turned everyone’s lives upside down. For businesses, it has resulted in significant changes to the way they operate. It is more important than ever that businesses collaborate to ensure their sustainability.

“Skillnet Ireland wants to work with you to help build the critical skills needed for economic recovery and the future world of work. Businesses in every sector and every part of the country need to ensure that they are investing in their workforce. Skillnet Ireland offers enterprise the supports and framework needed to equip their workforce with the skills required for business recovery.”

Brendan McGinty, Chairperson of Skillnet Ireland said: “The Covid-19 crisis has brought significant challenges, accelerating the pace of both business transformation and digital adoption. By engaging with a Skillnet Network or developing a new Skillnet Network, businesses can work together to develop a highly skilled workforce for their sector or region and be prepared for future challenges. Skillnet Ireland’s enterprise-led model offers businesses a great opportunity to collaborate and design innovative upskilling initiatives.”

Paul Healy, Chief Executive, Skillnet Ireland said: “Our economy is being rapidly reshaped by the impact of Covid-19 and accelerated digitalisation. These trends are affecting how companies operate and the way work is organised. We are today calling on business groups interested in establishing a learning network, either within a particular industry sector or region, to apply for funding to establish a new Skillnet network, giving businesses in your sector or region access to upskilling at a significantly subsidised cost. Lifelong learning has never been more relevant for business owners and employees as they need to adapt and learn new skills. Applicants will receive our full support throughout the application process.”

Demand for upskilling rose by 25% last year with over 18,000 businesses engaging with Skillnet Ireland to avail of subsidised training and development.

There are 70 networks already in operation across a range of sectors and regions. Industry bodies such as Chambers Ireland, IBEC, ISME and the Irish Farmers Association are currently engaged with Skillnet Ireland and see the benefits this brings.  

Johanna Cafferkey, Promoter of Green Tech Skillnet said: “We are committed to supporting and encouraging the vision of our companies and building a skilled and resilient workforce is a key part of that. The Green Tech Skillnet is developing Ireland’s skills base to support the rapidly growing renewable energy industry. Skillnet Ireland has been a pillar of support to us as we help businesses navigate this uncharted territory and prepare for the recovery. Businesses engaged with Green Tech Skillnet get access to tailored, specific, and timely programmes that would not otherwise be available.

I would encourage interested enterprise groups to apply for this funding, which will go a long way towards solving shared business challenges and addressing skills gaps in specific sectors and regions.”

New network applicants receive one-to-one support and consultation throughout the process, including virtual information sessions and workshops before the closing date for funding on November 5.

Skillnet Ireland is a business support agency of the Government of Ireland, with a mandate to advance the competitiveness, productivity, and innovation of Irish businesses through enterprise-led workforce development.