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Ireland. VET in Europe – Country Report 2011 - Europa

Ireland. VET in Europe – Country Report 2011 - Europa

FÁS co-operates with

FÁS co-operates with local community organisations to provide flexible Local Training Initiatives(LTIs) for unemployed persons. The LTI programme is designed to provide opportunities formarginalised clients who are unable to access other FÁS training interventions for personal, socialor geographical reasons. Target clients are primarily people under 35 years of age, with no formalqualifications or incomplete secondary-level qualifications. LTIs provide vocational trainingopportunities and learning supports to assist participants achieve awards on the NationalFramework of Qualifications and to develop capacity to progress to further training, education andwork. A total of just over 3,500 participants completed training on LTIs during 2010. Over 13,300minor awards at Levels 3, 4 and 5 were attained and over 670 FETAC major awards were achievedby those participating in LTI training 76 .Community education is also provided as accredited (and non-accredited) education in independentcommunity education groups who have a focus on social change “ … education in the community,with the community and by the community”. 77 This form of community education generally takesplace outside institutions and responds to the needs of the community. The Aontas CommunityEducation Network (CEN) supports and works for this form of community education. The CENwas established in 2007. It comprises over 130 Community Education organisations which workcollectively to gain recognition for community education, raise its profile and lobby to ensure it isadequately resourced and recognised as a distinctly funded sector of the Irish Education system.An Pobal (formerly Area Management Ltd), is a State agency responsible for measures to combatsocial exclusion at local level, also allocates funds to around 37 Local Development Companies.The Local Community Development Programme, through which the LDCs are funded devotes 40%of its funding on improving people’s work readiness and employment prospects. (NESC pg 49) InDecember 2010, the government introduced Tús, a new work-placement initiative for thecommunity sector. This initiative is managed by the Local Development Companies and Údarás naGaeltachta for the Department of Social Protection. It is anticipated that, at full capacity, Tús willprovide up to 5,000 short-term working opportunities (19.5 hrs per week) for unemployed people.Participants are paid the maximum rate of their underlying social welfare payment plus anadditional €20 per week.Workplace learning: Over the past number of years a number of work placement schemes andplaces on direct employment programmes have been created to provide unemployed people withwork experience. A new FÁS Work Placement Programme was introduced in 2009 to offer up to2,000 unemployed people the opportunity of a nine-month placement in a public, private orcommunity/voluntary sector workplace. The programme has two streams, one for unemployedgraduates and another open to all unemployed individuals; participants are not paid but, if in receiptof social welfare payments for more than three months, may be entitled to retain them.A new National Internship Scheme Job Bridge, started in July 2011. Job Bridge is charged withproviding 5,000 work experience placements to unemployed people in the private, public andvoluntary sectors. The scheme is open to individuals who are on the Live Register and have been inreceipt of Jobseeker’s Allowance/Benefit or signing on for credits for the last three months.Participants will receive a weekly allowance of €50 on top of their existing social welfareentitlement and may keep any secondary benefits (e.g., medical card, rent supplement) for the six tonine months duration of their internship. In order to participate on the scheme the host organisationand intern(s) must sign a Standard Internship Agreement before commencing on the scheme. TheHost Organisation must assign a mentor to the intern for the duration of the internship; provideongoing support to the intern during the programme; provide an induction and ensure the76FÁS Annual Report 2010.77The Aontas Community Education Network. Position paper on creating an effective funding mechanism forcommunity education. Aontas. February 2011.72

opportunity to learn/apply skills in the workplace described in the Standard Agreement are availableto the intern.The Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC) launched its Gradlink programme in2009 to support unemployed graduates during the current downturn. Gradlink is an internshipprogramme designed to help graduates to gain real-life work experience and improve theiremployment potential, while employers have the talent of the graduates for a specific time period orproject. Particpants are not paid but, since 2010, Gradlink participants are treated similarly to thegraduates participating in the FÁS Work Placement Programme in terms of retaining their eligiblesocial welfare benefits.Skillnets, which fosters the provision by groups of companies of employee training, has beenrequired, since 2010, to have a minimum of ten per cent of its trainees sourced from among theunemployed; 4,800 unemployed individuals benefited in 2010, and a target of 8,000 has been set for2011 of whom up to 50 per cent are to be low skilled.Training within enterprises and government funded employer and employee schemes: There isno statutory obligation on companies to provide CVET for their workforce and no specific sectoralagreements in respect of CVET within enterprises. Employers generally provide training on thebasis of their own requirements and this is usually provided in-house or sub-contracted on acommercial basis to private training providers. Some public and large commercial companies alsoprovide paid release for employees to participate on education and training courses.Surveys of Irish companies have found that enterprise-based training mainly takes place in largerand multinational companies rather than in SMEs, where the majority of low skilled workers arelocated. The EU-wide CVTS3 survey 78 found that 69% of companies employing 10 or morepersons, had carried out some training in 2005, and companies spent, on average 2.5% of labourcosts on training - this is the highest percentage in the EU. The survey found that training was mostprevalent in the manufacturing and financial sectors, whereas construction companies, hotel andrestaurants were less likely to train their employees. Results from the Employee Skills, Training andJob Vacancies Survey 2006 79 , found that in 2006, 45.5% of all enterprises provided internal and/orexternal training courses for their employees. This ranged from 25% of enterprises in the Hotels andrestaurants sector to 93.2% in Public administration and defence. While 100% of large enterprisesprovided such courses, this was only the case for 43% of small enterprises. The number ofemployees who attended such courses in 2006 represented 45% of all employees and there wasalmost an equal split between males and females.Almost 23% of enterprises said that on-the-job training was one of their preferred methods ofaddressing the skills gaps of their manager, professional and associate professional staff. Theequivalent figure for clerical, sales and service employees was 25.9%, and 19% forproduction, transport, craft and other manual employees. The hiring of experienced staff and/or theuse of training courses were also popular methods of addressing skills gaps.When employees were asked how they aquired their skills for their current job, 48% stated that theyacquired their skills by on-the-job training. 42% said they were hired as an experienced worker,while just under a quarter (24%) said they attended training course and. 16% of employees usedself-directed learning. There was little difference between employees in enterprises of differentsizes, except that whereas 16% of employees in small enterprises acquired at least some skills viatraining courses, this rose to over 30% of employees in large enterprises.78Continuing Vocational Training Survey, 2005, Central Statistics Office, Ireland. 2007.79Employee Skills,Training and Job Vacancies Survey 2006 , Central Statistics Office. Ireland February 2009.73

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