A young woman in business attire stands with her hands raised and fingers crossed in an office setting.
Image: © Krakenimages.com/Stock.adobe.com

HEA survey of Irish workers finds most want to retrain in a future-proof area

3 Sep 2021

According to the survey, 50pc of people said retraining in technology appealed to them while 27pc said they saw no future in their current jobs.

Almost half of the people surveyed by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) said they would like the opportunity to retrain in a more progressive area.

According to the HEA’s survey of 1,000 Irish adults, 45pc said they would like to retrain.

Exactly half of the people surveyed said the idea of working in new technology appealed to them.

The desire to retrain was more prevalent among people under 50 with no dependents.

The survey was carried out over a two-week period in May. Its primary aim was to find out people’s attitudes to upskilling and work in general.

Covid-19 affected people’s desire to upskill and retrain, with 37pc saying the pandemic had made them consider upskilling or reskilling.

However, a significant portion of respondents (43pc) said that they were unlikely to consider changing career due to the cost and time it would take them.

Confidence levels were also a factor in whether people were likely to upskill or not, with that confidence deficit more apparent in people aged between 25 and 50. One in three respondents overall said they did not have the confidence to pursue different work.

Just over a quarter (27pc) of people were concerned that there was no future in the careers they had chosen.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Vivienne Patterson, head of skills, engagement and statistics at the HEA, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has had an unimaginable impact on our attitudes to work and our careers in general. It has forced many to reconsider the path they are on, and think about upskilling, reskilling or returning to the workforce.”

The results of the survey reflect this, Patterson said, while also showing the common challenges facing people who are considering furthering their education. As well as the confidence gap, almost half of respondents noted cost and time as key challenges.

Patterson also pointed to the availability of HEA’s Springboard Plus courses, which are subsidised by the Government and free for the unemployed. The courses have been designed to train people in areas which are in demand in today’s jobs market.

Since 2019, there are also graduate conversion programmes available under the Human Capital Initiative (HCI). The HCI conversion programmes run alongside the Springboard courses and they focus on emerging technologies and ICT.

Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris, TD, said: “Covid-19 has clearly made many people examine whether they have all the skills they need to compete in what has been a volatile 18 months for the jobs market. Springboard Plus is providing incredible opportunities for both the employed and the unemployed to upskill or reskill in areas such as climate sustainability, energy, health innovation and cybersecurity, where employers are crying out for qualified staff.”

Information on individual Springboard and HCI courses can be found at SpringboardCourses.ie.

Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea joined Silicon Republic in 2021 as Careers reporter, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

Loading now, one moment please! Loading