Colleges face scrutiny over response to meeting skills gaps across industry

National Skills Council to be chaired by Minister for Education

The ranking table is based on Higher Education Authority figures for posts in universities in 2014, with University of Limerick having women in 33 per cent of senior posts. File photograph: Press 22 The new body will oversee research and advise on prioritisation of key skills gaps across industry and how they can be met

The ranking table is based on Higher Education Authority figures for posts in universities in 2014, with University of Limerick having women in 33 per cent of senior posts. File photograph: Press 22 The new body will oversee research and advise on prioritisation of key skills gaps across industry and how they can be met

 

The performance of colleges in responding to the skills needs of industry will be monitored by a new Government advisory body.

The National Skills Council, officially launched on Thursday, aims to make Ireland a leader in anticipating and responding to skills gaps.

The move comes in response to concerns that the scale of skills demands by employers is exceeding the capacity of education and training providers to meet them.

Industry figures have expressed concern that we face a shortage of skilled graduates in key areas such as computing, engineering and construction.

The council, chaired by Minister for Education Richard Bruton, includes members drawn from senior levels of the public and private sector.

The new body will oversee research and advise on prioritisation of key skills gaps across industry and how they can be met.

Speaking at a launch event, Mr Bruton said the possibility of major changes in our relationships with key trading partners - including the UK and the US - underscores the need to ensure we can nurture, develop and retain talent.

“The digital revolution which is taking place is transforming our economy and seeing the emergence of skills that weren’t thought of even five years ago,” he said.

“By offering people the opportunity to adapt and develop their skills, we can also ensure that nobody is left behind because of the changes taking place in the economy.”

In addition to the new council, there were be nine regional skills forums, which aim to help deliver economic growth and drive regional development.

Each forum will work closely with the enterprise base in their region, as well as with IDA, Enterprise Ireland, and the Local Enterprise Offices.

Mr Bruton said he looked forward to working with others to ensure the country can provide the skilled workforce needed to ensure the future competitiveness and strength of our economy.

“To remain competitive in an increasingly interconnected world, the workforce has to be equipped with the skills for the jobs of tomorrow,” he said.

“We have to ensure that people are equipped with the skills and competencies needed to play an active role in society.