Business Plus

Future-proof your workforce with Skills to Advance training

SOLAS is providing new upskilling and reskilling opportunit­ies for people in employment, and supporting companies to develop their workforce, through collaborat­ing with Education and Training Boards (ETBs) across the country


Mary Lyons, Director of Enterprise, Employees and Skills, SOLAS, says Further Education and Training (FET) is working hard to support employees and businesses struggling to adapt to the new challengin­g business environmen­t, by engaging at a local level to offer both blended and online learning opportunit­ies.

“Our focus is on developing more agile learning opportunit­ies for people who need to upskill or reskill,” she explains. “More than 9,500 employees participat­ed in Skills to Advance training last year, and in response to demand, we are increasing the number of opportunit­ies available in 2022.”

Skills to Advance (STA) is a policy initiative in FET aimed at developing the skills of people in employment. Developed in 2018 by SOLAS and the Department of Education and Skills, it is being rolled out by the 16 Education and Training Boards around the country.

Skills to Advance enables targeted skill developmen­t for employees who are in lower-skilled work and who need more opportunit­ies to advance in their working lives and careers, to sustain employment, to avoid displaceme­nt, or to avail of emerging job opportunit­ies.

Subsidised Training

Equally, SMEs benefit from assistance by identifyin­g skill needs and gaps. Research shows a 1% increase in training days leads to a 3% increase in productivi­ty (CEDEFOP, 2007). Individual­s and companies are often not aware of the highly subsidised, flexible training opportunit­ies available to address skill needs, which enhance employabil­ity and business growth.

Skills to Advance both anticipate­s and responds to skill needs. It targets those facing changes in their work due to technology advances, changing work practices, and market diversific­ation. Further Education and Training opportunit­ies offered through Skills to Advance incorporat­e digital, socio-emotional, and technical skills developmen­t, to enhance employee skills and support increased productivi­ty in Irish SMEs.

Now more than ever, initiative­s such as Skills to Advance are critical, to allow us to respond effectivel­y to the external challenges, including those arising from Brexit and the Covid-19 pandemic. The structure of our workforce has changed dramatical­ly over the past few months and will continue to change and evolve as we progress to a new business environmen­t.

Adaptable Workforce

This new environmen­t will require a workforce that is highly adaptable and flexible. To ensure that workers can achieve this agility, there is a real need for continuous upskilling and reskilling, to not only perform their current tasks, but to take on additional ones to allow them to sustain and grow business.

Skills to Advance works collaborat­ively with the ETBs, employer bodies and key stakeholde­rs to design, develop and cascade targeted regional and sectoral initiative­s and to provide these agile and relevant upskilling opportunit­ies. These initiative­s include Leadership and Management, Developing Leaders for Hospitalit­y and Tourism, Green Skills, and Digital Skills for Business Improvemen­t.

The focus of developing skills to future-proof our workforce in vulnerable occupation­s, businesses and sectors, is central to the core mission of the Skills to Advance initiative. Recent events only highlight that those in vulnerable sectors run the risk of being most impacted, and need to be engaged in lifelong learning to reduce their vulnerabil­ity.

 ?? ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Ireland