Tuesday 16 July 2019

Skillnet Ireland trains up 56,000 for 'futureproof' jobs

Pictured left to right: Brendan McGinty, Skillnet Ireland Chairperson; and Paul Healy, Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive
Pictured left to right: Brendan McGinty, Skillnet Ireland Chairperson; and Paul Healy, Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive

Shawn Pogatchnik

Skillnet Ireland provided training to more than 56,000 workers last year as small and medium-sized enterprises aimed to "future-proof their business", according to the agency's annual report.

The agency partners with more than 50 industry bodies to deliver courses. Participating companies contributed €18.5m toward their cost.

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"The single greatest decision an organisation can make to enhance and future-proof their business is to invest in the upskilling of their teams," said chief executive Paul Healy. The report said 16,462 firms participated in Skillnet courses last year, with 56pc of them micro firms employing fewer than 10 people. Services and agriculture were the biggest participating sectors, at 37pc and 28pc respectively.

Skillnet said it provided 6,831 courses to 56,182 people, up 12pc from 2017. Some 35pc were professionals, 23pc managers and 12pc business owners. About 3.5pc out of work were placed into employer-based programmes, including in Cork with cybersecurity firm Varonis.

The report highlighted new masters-level courses at University of Limerick and UCD that target critical skills gaps in artificial intelligence and financial services law.

Skillnet had 28 employees at the end of 2018, down three from 2017, who received pay and benefits exceeding €1.65m. Mr Healy was paid €128,250 plus a 10pc top-up to his retirement plan. The agency spent €212,000 on redundancy pay, €27,000 on legal fees, and nearly €60,000 on staff travel and hospitality.

Irish Independent

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