Friday 19 January 2018

Quinn's new FAS challenge

The revelation in today's Irish Independent that many unemployed people have taken the same training course more than once is shocking but not, sadly, surprising. The fact that such training courses are effectively being used to "warehouse" the unemployed merely confirms what many of us had long suspected about FAS and other state training bodies.

Last month, Education Minister Ruairi Quinn announced that he was replacing the discredited FAS with a new state training agency, Solas. However, as the story in today's paper makes clear, the problem with the state training system goes much deeper than merely one of nomenclature. Just because the name over the door disappears doesn't mean that all of the bad habits which have built up over several decades automatically disappear.

On the subject of FAS/Solas, those with long memories could be forgiven a certain sense of déjà vu. After all, FAS itself was the product of a similar rebranding exercise when it replaced ANCO way back in 1988. What reason do we have to believe that this latest renaming will prove to be any more successful than the last one?

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