Two in five have third-level training
TWO in five people in the Irish workforce now have a higher education qualification, new figures reveal.
Education levels of our labour force have risen dramatically as 186,300 more people had a third-level qualification last year than in 2005.
The figures show also that the percentage of secondary students staying on to Leaving Certificate has risen to 84.7pc, its highest rate yet.
But an update on the National Skills Strategy shows that an educational divide is opening up with slower progress being made in upskilling early school leavers and those on the live register for a year or longer.
Also in danger of being left behind are those previously working in areas where jobs have been lost such as construction, manufacturing, the wholesale and retail trades.
The Lifelong Learning Minister Sean Haughey disclosed that FAS and the VECs had signed a national co-operation agreement to increase collaboration in order to improve up-skilling opportunities.
He stressed the importance of core skills and key competences to achieve the objective of a well-educated and highly skilled population. The National Skills Strategy was published in 2007 and recommended that an additional 500,000 individuals within the workforce progress by at least one level on the 10 level National Framework of Qualifications.
The framework covers very basic awards right up to doctorate level. Mr Haughey said the current economic and labour market difficulties meant that the implementation of the strategy was even more important, not just for the economy as a whole, but especially for the many individuals who were experiencing unemployment and who required new skills to get back into work.