Welcome to the first issue of the Skills to Advance online newsletter. The aim of this newsletter is to share information about Skills to Advance across Education and Training Boards and with a wide range of stakeholders.
What is Skills to Advance?
Skills to Advance is an initiative under the Further Education and Training policy for employee development, ‘Supporting Working Lives and Enterprise Growth in Ireland’.
Launched in September 2018, Skills to Advance aims to equip employees with the skills they need to progress in their current role or to adapt to the changing job market. Given the current climate due to Covid-19, this is now more important than ever.
The target groups are:
Employees whose skills level is below Level 5 on the NFQ
SMEs with limited capacity to identify and meet the skills development needs of their employees
Industry sectors and regions with skills needs arising from emerging opportunities or as a result of economic vulnerabilities.
Leadership and Management programme - national roll out
Following the successful launch of the Skills to Advance Leadership and Management initiative in June with four ETBs in the North East and North West, the programme is now being rolled out nationally.
The first four ETBs to engage in this regional initiative were Cavan and Monaghan ETB, Louth and Meath ETB, Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB and Donegal ETB.
The programme was developed by SOLAS and the ETBs working in collaboration with companies to address skill needs in the regions. Key partners were IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland and the Regional Skills Fora. The Level 6 Institute of Leadership and Management (ILM) accredited programme aims to upskill supervisory staff in key areas including change management, motivating workers, digital skills and remote working.
According to Micheál Briody, CEO of Silver Hill Foods, who participated in the programme with Cavan and Monaghan ETB, 'We placed 12 people on the Leadership and Management course. With the Covid-19 crisis, staff had more time outside of work hours and it just happened to be the right time to look at training. We’ve already had 3 members of staff looking to join the next course because they’re seeing the personal development of those 12 colleagues and they want a piece of that.'
Patisserie chefs upskill with Level 5 Diploma
Kilkenny and Carlow ETB addressed a skills shortage in the hospitality sector by successfully running a Level 5 Diploma Patisserie and Confectionery Services course to upskill employees. Twelve participants engaged in the first programme, including older workers who hadn’t engaged in any formal training for some time. Feedback from the programme was very positive. Participants said that the training improved their confidence and motivation and expanded their opportunities at work. The ETB made it easy to access the training and provided strong support throughout.
With the sector being particularly impacted by Covid-19, this Skills to Advance course provides a valuable upskilling opportunity to ensure that chefs will have the right skills to support the recovery of the sector.
Dublin and Dún Laoghaire ETB providing key support for local enterprise
ETBs offer a range of key supports for enterprise, including skills audit and training needs analysis services, to help employers determine the skills requirements of their business.
Dublin and Dún Laoghaire ETB (DDLETB) carried out a training needs analysis with healthcare company, The Care Team, owned and managed by former nurses.
Faced with an average staff turnover of 70 percent, which is the industry norm, owner and Clinical Director Cora Murphy decided to upskill employees on a Level 6 Supervisory Management course to develop management capability within the team.
Staff enrolled with DDLETB, and five months after the start of the course, the owner reported the impacts of training as: enhanced worker motivation; a decrease in staff turnover; increased management capability; and a positive impact on financial turnover and business growth.
According to Cora, ‘‘Since Covid hit, we have been hiring five people a month who have lost their jobs in other industries so we will be upskilling more people this year."
The Innovation through Collaboration Fund 2019-2021 was created to showcase the innovation capabilities of ETBs in the delivery of upskilling and reskilling opportunities for employed people. Ten projects received funding for novel developments to be rolled out by the ETBs, working in collaboration with industry and other agencies. Find out below about some of the innovative collaborations currently underway.
Galway and Roscommon ETB innovation project embeds digital skills
Given the importance of Ireland's marine resource to Ireland, Galway and Roscommon ETB (GRETB) is planning an innovation project which embeds a digital game-based approach to delivering further education and training for the Aquaculture sector.
Working in collaboration with Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB and Louth and Meath ETB, other partners in this project include Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM), Údarás na Gaeltachta, Marine Institute, GMIT and NUIG.
Digital teaching and learning resources are being developed for active problem-solving, including an AquaFarm simulator and game-based resources.
These will support the learner towards achieving GRETB’s Level 5 qualification in Aquaculture in addition to accredited BIM Aquaculture awards. TED talks are a particularly innovative aspect of delivery.
The vision of the project is to support the industry to create upskilling opportunities for those already working in the sector, as well as initial and continuing training for new entrants.
Haulage companies set to save up to €4,000 per fleet vehicle
A new innovative Eco Driving course for the haulage sector in Ireland is set to launch later this year. This is an initiative of Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB in collaboration with Waterford and Wexford ETB, in partnership with the Irish Road Haulage Association.
The three-day SMART Driving programme, targeted at existing professional HGV drivers, will support future participants to develop behaviours and techniques that will improve fuel efficiency and road safety and will create cost savings for businesses and employers in the haulage sector.
According to research carried out during programme development, haulage companies that participate in the course are set to save up to €4,000 in fuel and maintenance costs per fleet vehicle.
Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB webinar series - an outreach initiative to local enterprise
Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETB ran a weekly Skills to Advance webinar series to promote their programmes to business and enterprise. This outreach initiative provided an invaluable support to employers who are dealing with the challenges of Covid-19 and who cannot attend in-person events.
Webinar topics covered included Digital Skills for Business, Remote Working through Zoom, Business Supports, and Cyber Awareness in the Remote Digital World. Follow them on LinkedIn to get updates about future webinars.
SOLAS information sessions for ETB staff
There was a very strong attendance of ETB staff at the Skills to Advance information sessions which have been running over recent months:
Overview of Skills to Advance
Route 3 Leadership and Management initiative
Entering Skills to Advance data on the PLSS database
So far in 2020, the five most in-demand training areas for upskilling are:
Health & Welfare
Business and Administration and Law
Information and Communications Technologies (ICT)
Engineering, manufacturing and construction
The high level of participation in Health & Welfare reflects the current vulnerability of this sector, where employee training is most needed at this time.
Like to contribute to our eNewsletter?
If your ETB has a story about a Skills to Advance programme and its participants or an event that you would like to see featured in the next issue of this eNewsletter please email [email protected] or [email protected] - we would love to hear from you as we put together future issues.
Email us at [email protected] for any queries about Skills to Advance and your email will be passed to the relevant member of our team.