1,700 people return to work through skills fastrack

11 May 2004

More than 1,700 people have returned to the workforce and some 3,500 have been involved in IT training through the Government and industry-backed Fastrack to IT (FIT) initiative, it has been revealed.

The FIT initiative was established in 1998 to provide IT skills to unemployed people to boost their employment opportunities and ensure social inclusion.

The programme has been supported by 15 local IT corporations based in Ireland, including Intel, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard, as well as several local governments, authorities and community groups.

FIT runs several initiatives, ranging from bringing IT into people’s lives and homes to assessing individual abilities.

It also provides 12 full-time and three part-time training programmes including programming, web development, networking and communications, maintenance and servicing, technical support and administration.

“FIT has proved a successful corporate social responsibility programme – where leading global and indigenous companies have joined forces with the Government to re-skill people, give them new opportunities, ensure social inclusion and ultimately benefit Irish society,” said Pat Nolan, co-chairman, FIT.

“This programme is now attracting international attention as a model for social and economic integration,” he added.

A recent delegation from the Employment and Social Affairs Committee of the European Parliament indicated that the FIT programme was an appealing model for ‘upskilling’ employees and was relevant to other EU states and their institutions.

By John Kennedy