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Ireland. VET in Europe – Country Report 2011 - Europa

Ireland. VET in Europe – Country Report 2011 - Europa

10.3

10.3 Funding for continuing vocational education and training and adultlearning10.3.1 Public funding schemes and mechanisms to finance CVET (excluding thosespecifically targeted at unemployed)The state plays a smaller role in the funding of CVET for the employed and for adultlearners, in comparison to its funding for the training of the unemployed and foryoung people. The Department of Education and Skills, (DES) provides funding forcontinuing vocational education in further (VEC) education colleges and adulteducation centres. Funding for continuing vocational training is distributed by theDepartment of Enterprise, Trade and Employment, (DETE), to state agencies such asFÁS and other government departments fund ongoing continuing training for specificindustrial sectors such as tourism. Between 1997 and 2010 it is estimated thatexpenditure in the area of further education has increased by over 400% to EUR 439million, enabling almost 200,000 learners to access further education learningopportunities in 2010.No public funds are distributed directly to the population for CVET, and there is nosystem of paid education and training leave. In general CVET for adults is paid fordirectly by the individuals themselves, and while participation in full-time further andhigher education does not require the payment of tuition fees, adults attending parttimeor evening courses normally pay the full cost. As a result of proposals in the2007 ‘Programme for Government’ eligibility criteria under the Back to Educationinitiative were amended to allow free tuition to any adult with less than uppersecondary level education.In line with Government policy, FÁS continued during the year to focus on trainingfor unemployed people and to reduce its involvement in the funding of training forpeople in employment. Total direct expenditure in 2010 was €3.1m compared to€12.0m in 2009, €36.7m in 2008 and €48.7m in 2007. Training interventions for1,860 primarily low skilled workers were grant aided in 2010. (FAS Annual Report2010)Many publicly funded organisations such as FÁS are permitted to charge fees.However, often the employer reimburses the cost of these courses, or if the trainee isunemployed or from a recognised disadvantaged group, no fee is charged. For adultsattending part-time courses in third-level colleges, some assistance is providedthrough tax relief. Tax allowances are also available for the fees paid for attendanceat approved courses in ICT and foreign language skills. There are three main strandsof publicly funded CVET and adult learning provision.10.3.2 Public-private cost-sharingGovernment policy views the training of persons at work as primarily theresponsibility of employers, who are the main source of funds for training for theemployed, through their direct funding of in-company training or indirectly throughtheir contributions to the National Training Fund (NTF). The NTF was established in110

2000 and it is resourced by a levy on employers of 0.7% of earnings of employees. Itapplies to all the main kinds of employment and covers approximately 75% of allinsurable employees. The monies collected can be used to fund training schemes andprogrammes for the employed, (including apprenticeship training), and for thoseseeking employment. The Social Partners have a role to play in the allocation of theNTF and they are consulted by the government in relation to the allocation of NTFfunds for training programmes. The Government-sponsored, the Expert Group onFuture Skill Needs, is the forum used to fulfil this requirement. Table 29 below, setsout the NTF funding utilized by State and other bodies, on training for the employedfrom 2005-10.The Government uses a number of financial and other incentive mechanisms tosupport and encourage employers to invest in training to improve the skills of theirstaff. The level of this support depends on a number of factors including region, typeand size of company, sectoral grouping or type of employee (e.g. low skill operativesin declining industries), and the stage of company development. Under the 2007‘Programme for Government’ EUR 2.8 billion was provided for up-skilling theworkforce to improve training for people in employment and help up-skill thoseaffected by industrial restructuring. In particular subsidies are provided by statefundedagencies to reduce the costs of training for SME companies. The agencies thatsupport and advise companies to undertake further training for their employeesinclude FÁS, Enterprise Ireland, IDA-Ireland and the thirty-five County and CityEnterprise Boards whose role is to develop local indigenous enterprise in the microbusinesssector at city and county levels, and who provide training to start upbusinesses, as well as training in management, e-commerce and IT skills. Sectoralspecific support assistance is provided by Fáilte Ireland for ongoing training in thetourism and hospitality industry, by Teagasc for training in the agricultural and foodsector and by the Crafts Council of Ireland for the craft sector.Enterprise Ireland, funds schemes to support in-company management training andadvisory services for approved firms within the manufacturing and internationallytradedservices sectors. According to the Department of Enterprise, Trade InnovationGovernment Estimates for 2010, the agency was allocated EUR 2.9 million from theNational Training Fund for these activities. In total in 2010 this agency spent EUR15.6 million 110 on management development and training.(The Industrial Development Authority (IDA), responsible for securing newindustries from overseas in the manufacturing and internationally-traded servicessector, was allocated EUR 3.0 million from the National Training Fund for trainingand development activities in 2010 111 .Údarás Na Gaeltachta, a regional development agency which operates in Irishspeakingareas, spent EUR 9.3 million on training in 2010, up from EUR 4.9 millionin 2009 112 .110 Enterprise Ireland Annual Report 2010.111 Department of Finance. 2011 Estimates for Public Services and Summary Public CapitalProgramme112 Údarás Na Gaeltachta Annual Report 2010111

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