Skillnets Press Pack
For all media queries please contact Sinead (0863791330).
Background to Skillnets Ltd and Current Programme
Established in 1999, Skillnets has a unique ethos and approach to the delivery of enterprise-led training and upskilling programmes for industry. The Training Networks Programme (TNP) funds demand-led training through a network model, where companies from networks representing specific industry sectors or geographical regions co-operate to deliver training programmes specifically designed and adapted to current market requirements.
Since 1999, Skillnets has facilitated over 70,000 Irish enterprises, in over 400 networks to improve the range, scope and quality of training and allowed over 300,000 employees to upskill and meet their work related training needs.
Skillnets has a strong relationship with Irish enterprise and an ability to support them, both in terms of job preservation and growth. Solutions and pathways have also been developed for job-seekers to increase their chances of gaining employment through gaining skills and experience that are in demand by enterprise.
Skillnets has been providing training for job-seekers since 2010. In the Training Networks Programme (TNP) unemployed individuals are training with those in employment, thereby enhancing their knowledge of current market trends in the sector/region and improving their potential for employment through training and networking. Job-seekers can also access training and a relevant industry work placement under the Job-seekers Support Programme (JSSP).
Skillnets also manages two separate programmes that have a defined focus on specific training needs. The Finuas Networks Programme is dedicated to supporting the international financial services (IFS) sector through investment in the specialist skills and expertise of its workforce. The ManagementWorks Programme is a new initiative that helps firms to improve their business performance by providing a range of subsidised, tailored programmes which are supported by professional business mentors.
Skillnets funds networks by co-investing with network member companies in the delivery of training. Networks are co-financed at up to 50% by Skillnets which demonstrates a significant investment by enterprise. A high level of dialogue, linkages and partnerships between and across organisations has taken place with Skillnets as a facilitator and enabler of the process.
Over fifty networks are currently operating across all Skillnets programmes.
Skillnets is funded under the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills (DES).
A strong emphasis in national policy formulation has been placed on the role of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in achieving and sustaining national competitiveness. Research shows the vital role which SMEs play in fostering innovation, creativity, adaptability and employment generation. Fundamental to this outcome, is the capacity within SMEs, particularly at the level of the owner and senior managers, to effectively manage enterprises. Employees must also be equipped with the tools to grow and develop. Training is an important part of that capacity building process.
Skillnets primarily facilitates an enterprise-led approach to training and development through supporting the development of flexible and effective training delivery methods amongst those enterprises that previously had difficulty in accessing or benefiting from training. It also aims to address the lack of investment in Human Resource Development and training by business through tackling some of the real and perceived barriers to training.
The key difference in the Skillnets approach is that enterprise has total decision-making power and can customise training to its specific needs. Skillnets does not specify the type or scope of training but supports the networks with resources and expertise.
The Skillnets approach is built around training networks (which are called Skillnets) where companies get together to decide what training they want, how it will be delivered and who will deliver it. The approach is particularly relevant to SMEs, which can often lack the expertise, time or money to deliver effective training policies. The 2011 Skillnets figures show, that SMEs accounted for 94% of the total number of companies funded with 59% of the total number of companies being micro companies (<9 employees). 12% of all trainees were owner-managers.
By forming training networks, SMEs have buying power – often for the first time – and this allows them to tell trainers what they want instead of having to send their staff on courses more relevant to large companies. The cost for each company in the network is greatly reduced and these companies are provided with expert staff and advisors to facilitate them in choosing the training that is best for their business.
Skillnets is funded from the National Training Fund (NTF) and its stakeholders include leading employer and employee representative bodies – Irish Business and Employers Confederation (IBEC), Chambers Ireland, Construction Industry Federation (CIF), the Small Firms Association (SFA) and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU).
There are thirteen members of the Skillnets Board:
Business Employers Representatives
Domhnall MacDomhnaill (Chairperson) – Irish Business and Employers Confederation
Brendan McGinty – Irish Business and Employers Confederation
Niall Saul – Irish Business and Employers Confederation
Karl McDonagh - Irish Business and Employers Confederation
George Hennessy – Construction Industry Federation
Ian Talbot – Chambers Ireland
Mairéad Divilly – Small Firms Association
Nuala Keher – Irish Congress of Trade Unions
Eamon Devoy - Irish Congress of Trade Unions
Peter Rigney – Irish Congress of Trade Unions
Paul O'Brien - Department of Education and Skills
Frequently Asked Questions
What does Skillnets do?
Skillnets is responsible for the operation of the Training Networks Programme (TNP) – a government initiative that funds and facilitates training through networks of companies that may have come together due to their geographical location or who work in the same sector or supply chain. From 1999 to 2009 the programme focused solely on funding training for people in employment. Since 2010 networks are also providing training to job-seekers.
Since 1999, Skillnets has funded over 400 training networks which supported over 70,000 companies in meeting their training needs. 300,000 staff and managers have participated in raising their skills levels across a diverse array of industry sectors and geographical regions.
Who funds Skillnets?
Skillnets is funded through the Department of Education and Skills (DES) from the National Training Fund (NTF).
What funding is available at the moment?
There is no funding available at present for the creation of new networks. However, you can join one of our networks at any time and if you would like to be notified when new funding is available you can also sign up for updates.
How can I apply for funding?
There is no funding available to create a new network at this time. Should new funding be available the details will be put up on this website. However, you can join one of our networks at any time and if you would like to be notified when new funding is available you can also sign up for updates.
What is a Skillnets network (Skillnet)?
A Skillnets network (Skillnet) is a group of companies working together to provide training for their collective staff. Networks are made up of companies that may have come together due to their geographical location or who work in the same sector or supply chain. The networks are funded by Skillnets to deliver grant aided training and the companies also contribute matching funding. Since 2010 Skillnets networks are offering places on some of their courses to job-seekers.
Find a network near you.
Why should my company join a network?
Companies work together in networks for a variety of reasons. Among them are the opportunities to:
- Reduce costs by availing of market discounts through grant aided training
- Achieve economies of scale, scope and spend
- Enhance their competitiveness in both domestic and international markets
- Increase sales and turnover
- Reduce uncertainty and improve staff morale through development and upskilling
- Reduce isolation
- Learn from others and absorb best practice
- Raise the profile of the company
- Jointly recognise and improve standards
- Stimulate new business opportunities
- Innovate and commercialise new products and services
- Form new capital bases and create new businesses
How does my company join a network?
To join a Skillnets network contact the network manager of the network you are interested in.
Find a network near you.
How much will it cost my company to join a network?
It varies from network to network but in some cases it is free for the company to join and in others there is an annual membership fee. Contact the network, that you are interested in joining, directly to find out about membership costs.
Find a network near you.
Are there any restrictions on the type of company that can join a network?
Only private sector or commercial semi-state enterprises can be member companies that avail of training through a Skillnets network.
The following cannot become member companies of a network:
- Public sector organisations
- Charity or Not-for-Profit Organisations
- Companies based outside the Republic of Ireland
I am a training provider. Can I be on the Skillnets list of approved training providers?
Skillnets does not have a recommended list of training providers. Training providers can contact networks directly.
Find a network near you.
I am currently unemployed. Can I apply for funding for training?
Skillnets does not provide funding directly to any individual companies or job-seekers. However you are able to apply to networks directly to attend training courses.
Find a course.
I am currently unemployed. Can I attend training courses run by the Skillnets networks?
Yes. As an unemployed individual you have 2 options:
- Under the Training Networks Programme, you can apply to networks directly to attend training courses. Find a network near you.
- The Job-seekers Support Programme (JSSP) is an initiative aimed solely at training job-seekers. Find out about the JSSP programme and participating networks.
76 Furze Road,
Tel: Sinead -086 3791330
For any press queries contact Skillnets at the numbers above or email email@example.com.