With automation creeping into most future-of-work conversations, how can businesses ensure they future-proof themselves and their staff? Skillnets’ Paul Healy has some ideas.

In recent years, there have been countless dystopian think pieces painting a foreboding view of the future of work, where millions of jobs will disappear due to increasing automation. While some of this hand-wringing is of course speculative, it has its roots in a very real future.

Skillnets networks offer SMEs subsided, relevant and flexible training tailored to their skill requirements

SMEs have shifted from a ‘survive’ to ‘prosper’ mentality in the last year, according to Paul Healy, CEO of Skillnets. The state-funded national agency is responsible for funding and supporting training networks for businesses.

From 20 to 24 November, over 1000 attendees gathered in Brussels for European Vocational Skills Week 2017. Hosted by the European Commission, European Vocational Skills Week showcases high quality systems, programmes and initiatives that equip people with the skills required in a fast-changing labour market. European Vocational Skills Week also provides a platform for policy makers, employers and the vocational education and training (VET) sector to ensure that provision addresses key skills requirements within and across EU member states.

Skillnets, the national agency responsible for the promotion and facilitation of workforce learning, has announced details of a new training fund that will support private sector businesses with their growth and competitiveness agenda by addressing their current and future skills need.

Pictured at the launch of the Skillnets’ Annual Report 2016 are Skillnets’ Chief Executive, Paul Healy, and Skillnets’ Chairman, Brendan McGinty.
2016 was a positive year for Skillnets with over 14,000 businesses investing in their staff across a range of sectors through Skillnets. A growing demand for the Skillnets offering was evident with over 50,000 trainees participating across all of our programmes.

Pictured are: Dr. Anthony Buckley, DIT, Dr. Paul Davis, DCU, Paul Healy, Skillnets CEO, Professor Brian Norton, DIT President, Prof. Helen McGuirk, CIT, Dr. Deirdre McQuillan, University of Bradford, Dr. Claire McBride, DIT, Dr. Peter Robbins, Maynooth University, Dr. Brian Harvey, DCU, and Dr. Lawrence Dooley, Cork University Business School.

National Organic Training Skillnet (NOTS) received the award for the Best Learning and Development Organisation (Network & Groups) in Ireland at the annual Irish Institute of Training and Development (IITD) Awards, which took place in the Killashee House Hotel in Kildare in March.

Pictured at the launch of four new Skillnets networks for the medtech, design, hospitality and logistics sectors are Adrian Cummins, Restaurants & Hospitality Skillnet, Skillnets Chairman, Brendan McGinty, Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, Skillnets Chief Executive, Paul Healy, Denise O’Connor, Design Enterprise Skillnet, James Winters, Internet of Medical Things (IOMT) Skillnet, and Pat Treacy, CILT Skillnet.

Speaking at the launch of Skillnets' Statement of Strategy 2016-2019 Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, TD said: “Recognising that the war for talent is now one of the most important factors for job-creation, ambitious action to increase our skills supply must be a priority. We must ensure that we continue to increase the skills supply, by offering up-skilling and re-skilling opportunities, which will be vital if we are to reach our target to create 200,000 additional new jobs by 2020.” 

Gréasán na Meán Skillnet gave Irish-speaking job-seekers an opportunity to become part of Ros na Rún, the television drama series set in rural Ireland that receives over 200,000 views a week. The network, in association with Ros na Rún, organised a number of one-day intensive acting workshops in the Connemara, Kerry and Donegal Gaeltachts last year. The workshops focused on acting for the camera. Through this ‘taster course’, participants undertook the journey from script to screen under the tutelage of a director.



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