L-R: Aidan Callan, Dundalk Chamber Skillnet Network Manager; Paul Healy, Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive; Tracey Donnery, Skillnet Ireland Executive Director and Thomas McDonagh, Dundalk Chamber
Skillnet Ireland, the national agency responsible for the promotion and facilitation of workforce learning in Ireland has launched six new networks, including one in Dundalk, to address the growing skills needs in the film, television, retail, health and fitness sectors.
The six new networks are Dundalk Chamber Skillnet, Fingal Dublin Chamber Skillnet, Screen Skillnet, SFA Skillnet, CSNA Skillnet and Leisure, Health & Fitness Skillnet. All six were unveiled yesterday at the Virgin Media Television studios in Ballymount, Dublin.
Dundalk Chamber Skillnet is a multi-sector learning network for companies of all sizes in Dundalk and the North East. Member companies work collaboratively to respond locally to skills needs within their businesses.
The network supports regional development by helping local businesses to arrive at shared local solutions that are more accessible, more affordable and ultimately, more effective at meeting their needs. Membership of the network is open to private enterprises in the Greater Dundalk Area and North East Region.
“We’ve only been in operation for six weeks and yet already we’ve supported many businesses in the North East", said Dundalk Chamber Skillnet Network Manager, Aidan Callan.
"For example, we supported a rapidly expanding SME to streamline product codes, following a recent competitor acquisition. We supported a local accountancy firm with a graduate programme to develop young talent.
"We brought two large manufacturing companies together to collaborate on developing a Leadership Development Programme and we’ve supported 13 smaller SMEs in developing administrative and general business skills.”
Skillnet Ireland works closely with these networks to address emerging skills needs, by designing bespoke programmes and qualifications across multiple sectors such as; manufacturing, agri-business, ICT, engineering, pharma, medtech, hospitality and construction related disciplines.
Speaking at the launch Paul Healy, Chief Executive, Skillnet Ireland said:
“In order to remain competitive, businesses need to invest in their greatest asset, their employees. Promoting continuous learning and upskilling will not only improve productivity; all the evidence shows it actually increases employee engagement and staff retention.
“These new networks will drive greater levels of training and management development within a wide variety of sectors. By facilitating industry led collaboration with training and education providers Skillnet Ireland will address the specific skills gaps and shortages that employers face.
"This will ensure Ireland has the breadth of skills needed for businesses to grow, which is a key element of the Government’s economic and employment strategy.”
Skillnet Ireland networks operates under a joint investment model whereby learning networks can apply to receive up to 50 percent of the cost of training from Skillnet Ireland, and the remainder of costs are funded in matching contributions from participating businesses in the learning network.
The approach has received international recognition as a model of best practice from the OECD, amongst others.
Skillnet Ireland is also seeking applications from new groups of ambitious businesses aiming to address challenges through upskilling and reskilling.
Applications for funding are open until September 30th 2019. To apply, visit www.skillnetireland.ie/funding
Skillnet Ireland is also holding information sessions next week for businesses, industry bodies or enterprise groups on how they can establish a Skillnet Network. The information sessions will take place in Athlone on May 22 and in Dublin on May 23. The sessions are free, but you must register to attend. To register, click here.