Eoghan Harris: Cannon must save craft skills to rebuild manufacturing base that will lift us up
Ciaran Cannon, the Minister for Skills, and Paul O'Toole, boss of Solas, must make sure that when throwing out former Fas boss Rody Molloy's cloudy bathwater they do not also throw out the healthy Fas babies: the craft skills which are still the envy of countries like Australia and New Zealand.
FAS had a few fat cats at the top -- rightly exposed by Shane Ross and Nick Webb -- and some of the courses it farmed out to the private sector were flawed. But Fas craft courses gave massive value for money. And not only craft courses.
The facts speak for themselves. As the recession began to bite, Fas took on tens of thousands of unemployed workers. At a time when its own staff numbers were falling, the numbers of those it trained jumped from 30,000 to 110,000, a productivity increase of 300 per cent.