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Helping Irish businesses to get climate ready

Skillnet Ireland is preparing businesses to build sustainable models

Skillnet Ireland chief executive Paul Healy

Skillnet Ireland chief executive Paul Healy


Skillnet Ireland is about to launch a new initiative aimed at equipping businesses with the skills to manage climate risks and thrive in the green economy. Climate Ready will develop and facilitate learning pathways for businesses to build sustainable operating models and develop the talent they need to proposer as the country makes the transition to a low carbon economy.

Skillnet Ireland chief executive Paul Healy, quoting Aristotle, says: “Courage is the first of human qualities because it is the quality which guarantees the others. That still applies today. We have to show courage in tackling the issue of climate change. If we don’t, there will be nothing left to share with future generations.”

The starting point of the new initiative is the Government’s Climate Action Plan, he explains. “This is hugely ambitious and rightly so. The plan predicts that entire sectors of the economy will experience radical change and new types of enterprises and jobs will be created as a result of decarbonisation and the disruption it will create. Irish companies have a pivotal role to play in leading this transition within their own businesses and through their supply chains. There will be huge demand for new skills, and Skillnet Ireland is helping businesses and workers prepare for that.”

The Climate Ready initiative is based on the three core pillars of the existing climate cluster created by Skillnet Ireland, a Climate Ready Academy, and Climate Insights.

“In the Climate Ready Cluster, we have already carved out a strong position in the areas of renewable energy, clean water and sustainable finance,” says Healy. “We plan to invest in and grow that cluster.”

Online course

The Climate Ready Academy offers practical and specialised learning supports for businesses in the areas of climate action and sustainability. These supports include the Sustainability Pass, a short online course designed to assist staff at all skill levels to understand how their sustainable actions will play a vital role in Ireland’s collective response to climate action.

The Energy Leaders Programme, delivered in partnership with the SEAI, aims to support businesses and energy professionals with training on how to reduce energy waste, deliver cost savings and protect the environment.

The academy will also feature a series of masterclasses delivered by expert practitioners, who will share best practice on sustainability related topics.

The Climate Ready Insights platform will promote best practice across the business community through shared knowledge, thought leadership and research.

Climate Ready builds on other innovative initiatives developed by Skillnet Ireland. Among these is the first-of-its-kind Water Stewardship programme, which helps businesses reduce water consumption.

“Not all aspects of climate action are as obvious as others,” says Healy. “The global water crisis is part of the climate emergency. Industries like biopharma, medtech and construction consume vast amounts of water. We are training water stewards to conserve water, drive efficiency, reduce costs and protect the environment.”

The programme is accredited by the European Water Stewardship Standards and has trained 320 Certified Water Stewards to date.

“We want to support 1,100 companies and more than 3,000 workers this year and grow those numbers each year,” says Healy. “We will be able to achieve this as a result of the ambition of the Department of Further and Higher Education, Innovation and Science and Minister Simon Harris as well as the willingness of the private sector to step up and fund this initiative to the tune of millions of euro.”