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Collaborating to solve industry problems

Skillnet Ireland will also facilitate the development of educational programmes

Skillnet Ireland will invest more than €2 million this year in supporting collaboration between industry and the third-level sector to research and develop new educational programmes designed to meet the needs of specific industry sectors.

"We work with more than 70 Skillnet Learning Networks which are supported by chambers of commerce, trade associations and industry groups around the country," says Skillnet Ireland executive director Dave Flynn. "The industry groups come together to work on problems that individual companies couldn't solve on their own. Once they identify the issue, they work with a higher education institution to design and develop a programme that meets that need. It is a true co-creation process."

New degree

One such programme established recently is the Masters of Engineering (MEng) in Digitalisation of Manufacturing which was developed in association with Irish Medtech Skillnet and Limerick Institute of Technology. Another is the new Masters Degree in Global Business Services developed by the Technology Ireland ICT Skillnet in conjunction with the Technological University of Dublin.

The higher education institutes benefit as well. “They know that demand is going to be there for the programmes. The programmes are based on a spec designed by the industry and the college receives constant feedback during the development process. The industry partners contribute to the development costs as well as investing heavily in putting their employees on the programmes once they are set up.”

Barry McCall

Barry McCall is a contributor to The Irish Times