Taking Ireland’s skills to the next level by investing in Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Apprenticeships, Election 2016, Jobs, Skills

“We are focussed on taking Ireland’s skills to the next level by investing in Apprenticeships and Traineeships” – Remarks by Minister English to National Fine Gael Skills event today Tuesday 23rd February 2016 at 11am

Successful sports teams compete on the basis of fitness and skills.

So do successful economies.

Fine Gael and the sacrifices of the Irish people have restored Ireland’s economic fitness by stablising the National Finances.

Now we are focusing on taking Ireland’s skills to the next level by investing in Apprenticeships and Traineeships.

Skills are the key achieving full employment.

This Government has an ambitious plan to create 200,000 jobs by 2020, but we can only fillthese jobs if our people have the skills to do these jobs.

That is why Fine Gael is focused on ensuring that all of Ireland’s citizens have access to the skills they need to succeed in life; and Irish business has the people with the skills they need to grow.

The National Skills Strategy launched in January, and these proposals we are announcing today, to double the number of apprenticeships to 31,000 through 100 new Apprenticeship Schemes mark a step change in the approach to skills development.

Apprenticeships are a tried and tested method of on the job training and skills development.

They offer young people a great way to build a worthwhile career.

We are expanding this approach to address skills needs across a much broader range of careers.

I would like to see every talented young person consider an Apprenticeship as an option for building their career.

Just like Jamie Oliver, Stella McCartney and Formula One Technical Director Ross Brawn did.

We are also proposing to create more and improved trainee ships, build on the Springboard and Momentum Programmes and support the creation of Technological Universities.

Our approach to skills development is based on partnership.

We listen to industry and work with them to address the skills needs they have.

That means that people can confident that the courses they do will result in a job.

That matters because as the Taoiseach has said “a job doesn’t just mean an income. A job can transform a life. Give a person a role and a stake. A job offers the chance to make a contribution. It helps young people, in particular, find their own path in life and strike out to a new future

Fine Gael in Government will deliver the skills to generate jobs and sustainable economic growth and help Ireland and its people strike out to a new and better future.







English launches Ireland’s National Skills Strategy 2025 – Ireland’s Future

Meath, Skills, Wesmeath

“The new Strategy is a key pillar in the Government’s plan to keep the
recovery going and build sustainable economic growth” – Minister

View pictures from the launch here: https://www.flickr.com/photos/merrionstreet-ie/albums/72157661677074244

The Taoiseach and Tánaiste today (Wednesday) launched the new National
Skills Strategy 2025 – Ireland’s Future, along with local Minister for
Skills, Research, Innovation Damien English, TD, at the Blackrock
Further Education Institute, Dublin recently before the flag dropped
on General Election 2016.

The Strategy identifies Ireland’s current skills profile, provides a
strategic vision and specific objectives for Ireland’s future skills
requirements, and sets out a road map for how the vision and
objectives can be achieved.

The Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English T.D.,

“Winning the war for talent is the key to keeping the recovery going
and for future sustainable economic growth.  The NationalSkills
Strategy will ensure our people have the skills they need to succeed
and that Irish Business has the skills it needs to expand.

“The critical success factor for this strategy will be the real
partnership between the education and enterprise sectors. I am
delighted that this strategy will put in the place the structures to
make that partnership a reality.

“Apprenticeships are an absolute central part of delivering the skills
enterprise needs and I would urge talented young people to look
seriously at an Apprenticeship as the foundation for a great career.”

The Strategy has been developed around six key objectives and a
comprehensive set of actions and measures aimed at improving the
development, supply and use of skills over the next 10 years.  Key
actions in the plan include:

·        Establishment of a new National Skills Council to oversee
research, forecasting and prioritisation of skills needs in the

·        Further development of the Regional Skills Fora across the
country to support increased employer engagement with education and
training providers to meet the skills needs of each region.

·        50,000 Apprenticeship and Traineeship places to be supported
over the period to 2020.

·        Further Education and Training and Higher Education providers
to produce employability statements for courses.

·        Development of an Entrepreneurship Education Policy Statement
which will inform the development of entrepreneurship guidelines for

·        Making sure that all Transition Year, LCVP and LCA students
in schools and full-time students in further education and training
and higher education benefit from work placements, and tracking this

·        A review of guidance services, tools and careers information
for school students and adults to identify options for improvements.

·        A review of the School Leaver Age with a view to increasing it.

·        An increased focus on lifelong learning and a target to
increase participation in lifelong learning to 15% by 2025 (from 6.7%
in 2014).

The Department of Education and Skills will provide strong leadership
in order to ensure the Strategy is successfully implemented and these
actions are achieved.

The Strategy will aim to ensure that Ireland’s current and future
workforce needs are met through increased participation, educational
attainment, skills development and skill use to achieve greater
productivity and support economic and social prosperity and growth.

The Strategy Report is available at :

Future proofing the Irish economy through Skills, Research & Innovation

Action Plan for Jobs, Apprenticeships, Meath, Research and Innovation, Skills, Uncategorized, Wesmeath

Check Against Delivery

Speech at Fine Gael Ard Fheis – Damien English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation

Fine Gael in Government has a long term economic plan to secure the recovery, put people back to work and build a sustainable robust economy. 200,000, 70,000 returning home.

Firstly we stablised the national finances and created the conditions for a return to growth. People now have hope for the future.

Then we used the Action Plans for Jobs process to drive job creation, creating more than a 1000 jobs a week.

More people in work means more tax revenue to invest in delivering improved and reformed public services.

Make no mistake Ireland is in full recovery mode. We now have the fastest growing economy in Europe.

More importantly more and more Irish people are back working in good jobs with good prospects.

We will not sit back, we can’t take growth for granted. We have to future proof the economy through investment in research and skills.

All the other parties out there are eager to spend the fruits of the recovery but have no plan on how to keep it going.

While they have wish lists, we have a long term economic plan to future proof the economy and prevent a return to the boom and bust.

In a marathon you hit the pain barrier about six miles from the end.

A few years ago the Irish people, and the Irish economy hit the pain barrier but we have kept on going on the road to recovery.

Now a few miles short of the finish line to achieve full employment, who pops up at the final water station with burgers and beers encouraging you to party again but Micheal Martin. When really what you need is an isotonic drink that will steady you and keep you going. Likewise Fine Gael’s Long Term plan is the isotonic drink that will keep the will keep the economy steady and well on the road to full employment.

Fianna Fáil have no economic plan to create jobs, to keep the recovery going. In fact when Micheal Martin was last in charge, Ireland saw 300,000 jobs destroyed.

If we follow his advice, it will be like Groundhog Day and we will be back at the start of the marathon again, with more pain to go through.

Fianna Fails preferred bedfellows are proponents of the Slab Murphy School of Economics.
Keep hitting the honest worker to pay for everthing.

Sinn Fein don’t believe in low taxes for jobs. Instead they believe in the approach taken by Syrzia in Greece, look where that got them.

Put the two together and you get the coalition from hell who will tax and squander the recovery into a savage recession.

Fine Gael know we can’t take growth for granted.

The recovery is not an accident.

The recovery is the result of the hard work and sacrifice of the Irish people good Government and prudent policies.

It’s a tough competitive world out there. Growth in China is slowing, the US stock market is falling, there is crisis of confidence in Europe and the West.

If we take growth for granted we will lose it.

We have to stay competitive and we have to focus on the future.

Which is what I have been doing as Minister for Skills Research and Innovation.

We have been putting in place the strategies to create the jobs of the future and make sure the Irish people have the right skills to fill these jobs.

Last month we published Innovation 2020 Ireland’s strategy to become an global leader in research and innovation.

Already ten percent of Intel’s research is done in Ireland Intel’s new Chips are not just built in Ireland they are designed in Ireland.

Kerry Group are now the world’s leading taste and nutrition company their research is reinventing food to make it tastier and healthier.

Innovation 2020 will ensure more companies do research and create the jobs and the companies of the future in Ireland.

Ireland is now in full recovery mode, and within striking distance of full employment.

As we approach full employment making sure Irish workers have the skills that enterprise needs matters more than ever.

If we are to secure the recovery and future proof the Irish economy we need to put in place a long term skills strategy to ensure all of our people can reach their full potential and play an active role in building a better Ireland.

We are doing just that.

Next week we will publish our new Skills Strategy to ensure the Irish people have the skills to fill the jobs of the future.

This strategy sets an ambitious trajectory for the next ten years for skills development in Ireland.

It marks an important step in the evolution of Ireland’s dual track educational system to a system which fully supports life learning and is more responsive than ever to the changing needs of enterprise.

This strategy is based on partnership with enterprise. We are putting in place regional skills fora to ensure business in every region can tell us they skills they need to grow.

At a National Level we are putting in place a new National Skills Council to use real time intelligence to proactively manage emerging skills gaps.

We are also reinventing Apprenticeships for the 21stCentury to provide a low cost high quality path to good jobs and good careers for our young people.

This year will see the doubling of Apprentice Schemes in a host of new areas like IT and Finance.

I want to stress that Apprenticeships are not some kind of second best option for people who can’t get into college.

They are a tried and tested method of training talented people, just ask former Apprentices like Jamie Oliver or Alex Ferguson.

Fine Gael are committing to delivering 50,000 apprenticeships andtraineeships by 2020.

I have three things I want to ask all you here today to help me with.

Firstly we can’t reach our job creation targets unless we bring our emigrants home.

If you have a son or daughter a niece or nephew or friends working abroad tell them its time to think about coming home.

Secondly if you know young people who are trying to figure out what to do in life. Get them to check out an Apprenticeship.

There are literally thousands of well paying jobs out there for people with the right skills. College is not the only option and often it’s not the best option for a host of well paying jobs.

Finally, canvass hard to get this Government back into office.

Leave no door unknocked and no voter in any doubt of the need to keep Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein as far away from power as possible.

Fianna Fail have squandered one boom Sinn Fein want to turn us into a second Greece.

Only Fine Gael has a long term economic plan and with your hard work and commitment we will deliver it and a better brighter future for this country.



Minister English urges national and local business to contribute to Skills Strategy


Damien English TD, Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation is inviting businesses to submit their views on the development of the National Skills Strategy to 2025.

“Keeping the recovery going means having a plan to create more jobs and keep the economy strong.  So we’re putting in place the right structures and supports to make sure that Irish people have the skills to fill these jobs and that existing workers have the skills to progress their careers. This will be done through the new National Skills Strategy.

“The Strategy will aim to ensure that Ireland’s current and future workforce needs are met through increased participation, educational attainment, skills development and use to achieve greater productivity and support economic and social growth.  

“We are determined to make sure that Ireland has the right people with the right skills to fill the 220,000 jobs that will be created between now and 2020. To do that we need business to tell us the skills they need and how we can improve skills training in Ireland.

“We are in the process of doubling the number of apprenticeship schemes in Ireland. We are able to do this because industry was willing to get involved and work to identify where the gaps were.

“I want to see the same approach with the skills strategy where industry takes ownership and contributes to the strategy.

“Unemployment is the main source of inequality and unfairness. More jobs mean less tax for people working and more revenue to provide better services.”

Making a submission:

· Please send  your views by Tuesday, 1st December 2015: Via the online form, which will be available on http://www.nationalskillsstrategy.com 
· by email to nss@education.gov.ie or
· by post to Higher Education Policy and Skills Unit, Department of Education and Skills, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, D01 RC96
· See more at: http://www.education.ie/en/Press-Events/Events/National-Skills-Strategy/National-Skills-Strategy.html#sthash.lE3IuxJN.dpuf


14 Young Apprentices & Trainees to represent Ireland at 43rd World Skills Competition in Brazil


I am delighted to  officially wish Team Ireland well at the World Skills Competition in Brazil in the coming weeks.

The World Skills Competition, which is held every two years, is the world’s largest professional education event.  Approximately 1,200 competitors from 70 countries and regions will compete in almost 50 different skills and disciplines in Brazil.  All competitors will demonstrate technical abilities both individually and collectively to execute specific tasks for which they study and/or perform in their workplace.  Over 800 volunteers are assisting the expected 200,000 visitors and school groups

As Minister for Skills, I understand the really important contribution that apprentices and tradespeople are making to Ireland’s economic recovery. It’s time to give this contribution much broader recognition.

The World Skills Competition allows us to opportunity to celebrate and really value Further Education and Training.  I wish all of these young people the very best as they represent their country next month.

14 young apprentices and trainees will represent Ireland at the 43rd WorldSkills Competition in São Paulo, Brazil from 11 – 15 August 2015.  The Irish team has been selected from the winners of the National Skills Competition Finals which were held in Cork Institute of Technology in December 2014.

These apprentices and trainees have worked extremely hard to get where they are today.  They are among the best in Ireland in their chosen field.  They should be very proud of themselves.

The Irish young people, all under 25 years, have proven expertise in their chosen field having competed against their peers to secure their places at the Competition.

They will showcase their skills and talents in the areas of Aircraft Maintenance, Automobile Technology, Beauty Therapy, Cabinet Making, Carpentry, Construction Metal Work, Electrical Installations, Industrial Control, Joinery, Plastering and Dry Wall Systems, Plastic Die Engineering, Plumbing and Heating, Restaurant Service and Welding. Competitors , who come from Limerick, Meath, Wexford, Dublin, Cork, Cavan, Galway, Monaghan, Cork, Leitrim, Mayo and Latvia, have been in fulltime training for the past 8 weeks under the direction of their coaches.

The Team has been trained in the Institutes of Technology (CIT, DIT, DKIT, WIT) and Education and Training Boards (Kerry ETB, Clare Limerick ETB, Waterford Wexford ETB and Dún Laoghaire Further Education Institute).

25 new Apprenticeship proposals launched today

Apprenticeships, Skills

Delighted to  join Minister Jan O’Sullivan and Pat O’Doherty of ESB and the Apprentice Council in launching 25 new apprenticeships today.

Today I was delighted to join my Departmental colleague Minister Jan O’Sullivan and Pat O’Doherty of the ESB and Chair of the Apprenticeship Council in announcing 25 new apprenticeship offerings.

These new offerings will see an expansion of the existing range of programmes offered under the Apprenticeship system, and are part of ongoing work to ensure that the system remains responsive to economic and employment needs.

The new offerings which are now in the development phase are the result of an evaluation process undertaken by the Apprenticeship Council.

The 25 new Apprenticeships will focus on a wide range of skills and sectors, including Manufacturing and Engineering, Tourism and Sport, Financial Services, Information Technology, Transport Distribution and Logistics, and Business Administration and Management.

The new types of apprenticeships being proposed today are very flexible, ranging in duration from two to four years, and will be offered at Levels 5 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications.

My job in Government is to bring education and industry together to make sure we have the skills needed for industry to compete, and for our people to get decent jobs with good wages. Since becoming a Minister a year ago, I have made building a more effective Apprenticeship offering a key part of delivering both of these objectives.

Apprenticeships are not the educational equivalent of the Junior B Football Team for people not deemed bright enough for a college degree. They are a pathway to a fulfilling and profitable career. Apprenticeships are a tried and tested method of developing deep skills through a powerful mixture of working with and learning from experts on the job, and through structured coursework.

Apprenticeships are about learning by doing. Quite simply, they work.

The launch venue of Dublin restaurant Fallon & Byrne was a fitting one given the surge in demand for more skilled people to work in the restaurant and hospitality sectors which has been highlighted to me regularly by Stephen McNally, and Enfield native and President of the Irish Hotels Federation, as well as many local hotel and restaurant owners.

Among the 25 new apprenticeships I want to highlight the work of Ashbourne butcher of the Association of Craft Butchers in Ireland for advancing the new Butchery and Fresh Food Retail apprenticeship.

There are also  significant job opportunities in the HGV driver sector,  and the I.T. sector, which is again reflected amongst the 25 new apprenticeships that will be offered.

Launch of Macra na Feirme Young Farmer Skillnet

Farming, Skills

Minister Damien English with Macra President Seán Finan and Meath Macra members.

It was great to visit the Irish Farm Centre today Tuesday, 7th July 2015 in Bluebell, Dublin to launch the Macra na Feirme Young Farmer Skillnet alongside new Macra President Seán Finan.

Representing Skillnets at the launch was Tracey Donnery. Local Meath young farmersand Macra members Niamh Fagan, Nicholas Coyle and Damien Govern were on hand to add a local welcome for me at the Irish Farm Centre!

The Macra na Feirme Young Farmer Skillnet will provide continuing informal training to young farmers. Under the banner of a ‘Farm Cert’, the further training programme for young farmers will deliver the training and skills that young farmers decide they need themselves at a time that suits them. The farmers pick the modules and Macra na Feirme Young Farmer Skillnet will deliver the required training. All training is focused upon delivering an outcome for the farmer.

Macra along with partners the Irish Farmers Journal and the Farm Apprentice Board carried out a training needs analysis of young farmers. The results have identified a need for the Young Farmer Skillnet that is being launched today and informed our approach to the programme. This training will provide targeted, informal training
where required.

176 young farmers were surveyed with a further 33 farmers interviewed as part of the needs analysis to assess their views. A key finding from the needs analysis was that young farmers have a relatively high level of formal agricultural training however the level of engagement in further training is quite low. There is both a lack of further training opportunities available for young farmers and also no culture
of further training among young farmers.

A lack of awareness of training also leads to an inadequate understanding of the benefits of training for young farmers. The Young Farmer Skillnet that I helped Macra launch today sets out to change this.

Minister English launches new Dunboyne College of Further Education

Education, Meath, Skills

Today, Thursday 14th May 2015, marked both an important end and beginning in the history of education in Dunboyne and for Co. Meath.

It marked the end of Dunboyne College of Further Education time as part of St. Peter’s College and the beginning of what is hoped will be a long and successful era as a provider of Post Leaving Certificate courses as a stand-alone PLC centre in its own right.

The launch of the new educational entity took place in Dunboyne Castle Hotel and was attended by myself as Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation Damien English T.D. & Tánaiste Joan Burton T.D. who is a T.D. for neighbouring Dublin West constituency.

Stand-alone status for Dunboyne College of Further Education is something that I have worked on as a T.D. for Meath since 2002, and in the last year as a local Minister based in the Department of Education.

I thank my Dáil colleagues in Meath East Regina Doherty, Helen McEntee and Dominic Hannigan for their continuous representations on the matter.

We live in changing times and none more so than in the Further Education and Training Sector. Recent reforms such as the establishment of SOLAS and the 16 Education and Training Boards, and now a new standalone Dunboyne College of Further Education will lead to real long term change in Meath and nationally.

I would like to pay tribute to Peter Kierans, Chief Executive of Louth and Meath ETB and all the ETB staff who support the provision of further education and training across the ETB area. I congratulate Denis Leonard, Principal, and the staff of Dunboyne College of Further Education and everyone involved with today’s events.

Dunboyne College of Further Education has for many years, as part of St. Peter’s College, provided Post Leaving Certificate courses to students in the Meath, west Dublin and north Kildare region. Post Leaving Certificate courses are aimed at preparing learners both for employment and for progression into other areas of education and training.

It has grown on an annual basis and now over 400 students are participating in a diverse range of courses including Arts, and Business, Social Care, Sports and Science, Nursing and Healthcare, Multimedia, Sound and Music, Childcare and Journalism. The range of these courses was very in evident in the graduation ceremony earlier today.

Minister English Addresses Launch of Springboard+ 2015

Skills, Speeches, Springboard

7th May 2015

Check against Delivery

Good morning everyone and welcome to the launch of Springboard+ 2015.

I want to thank John, Marie and Ciaran for sharing their experiences of Springboard with us this morning.

It is clear from what we have heard that participating on a Springboard course can really make a difference.

Employment trends

An important feature of Springboard has been the evaluation of outcomes for these participants and employment trends.

This has enabled us to track outcomes for over 21,000 people who have already participated on a Springboard course between 2011 and 2014.

I am delighted that new data from the Department of Social Protection shows that 74% of all Springboard participants during this period are no longer on the Live Register.

Data also shows that while participants who were long-term unemployed at the start of their course find it harder to get employment, 45% of this group now achieve employment/self-employment within 6 months of completing a Springboard course.

This validates our focus this year on increasing the availability of Springboard courses for participants with no previous higher education qualifications.   This is being achieved by an increase in level 6 courses in particular.

Data also shows that the quality of employment is trending upwards with 85% of survey respondents in full-time jobs.

95% of jobs are in Ireland and 49% are located outside Dublin.

Feedback from participants

 In terms of feedback from participants, 98% of 2014 graduates recommend Springboard to others wishing to reskill for employment.

Participants have also identified the most helpful aspects of Springboard for securing employment as work placement, the part-time and flexible delivery of courses; course content, the qualification received; and networking opportunities with employers.

In that context, I’m pleased to say that work placement is now a feature of over 90% of courses in 2015 (excluding entrepreneurship courses) compared to 70% of courses in 2011.

Springboard+ is specifically targeted at high growth areas.   ICT skills are particularly in demand.  Springboard+ will ensure that graduates have these high-level ICT skills that will address the needs of employers.   This is supported by findings from a survey of ICT skills conversion graduates which indicates that 87% of graduates are in employment within 18 months of completing their course.

Springboard+ is just one of a number of industry focused reskilling initiatives that are available to jobseekers. Momentum, JobBridge, and the Skillnets are also providing additional targeted programmes, focused on addressing the skill needs of industry and supporting jobseekers into employment.

Information on all of these initiatives can be found on www.skillstowork.ie, which is aimed at making it easier for jobseekers and employers to know what Government skills initiatives are available.

Finally, I am delighted to see that the Springboard Helpline will be available again this year.  This helpline is invaluable to prospective students when deciding on the best course options available to them under Springboard.


– See more at: http://www.education.ie/en/Press-Events/Speeches/2015-Speeches/SP15-05-07.html#sthash.9YZ3xqWH.dpuf