Talent will continue to play ‘a fundamental role in Ireland’s economic development,’ said the chief executive of Skillnet Ireland.
Skillnet Ireland has reported record levels of engagement with its skills and training initiatives, as Irish businesses upskill in areas such as digitalisation, leadership and sustainability.
According to its annual report from 2021, companies co-invested a total of €22.5m in upskilling programmes for staff last year despite the challenges of the pandemic. Overall, there was a record level of investment in talent development, which increased by 17pc to more than €60m.
Skillnet Ireland supported a record 22,500 companies and 86,500 individuals through its training programmes last year. Of these businesses, 93pc were SMEs and more than 1,100 were FDI companies.
The business support agency increased the output of its training programmes by 8pc, delivering 9,853 programmes last year. These spanned industry and professional certified courses, specialised upskilling, new industry and academia collaborations and innovation and research-based projects.
Growth in Skillnet Ireland’s national initiatives was also robust. Its Climate Ready programme supported more than 1,600 businesses and 3,200 people in its first year. Climate Ready supports businesses and their staff in understanding and preparing for the climate crisis.
The MentorsWork scheme, which supports small business owners through expert mentoring and skills development, grew by 35pc last year.
Also last year, Skillnet Ireland invested €1m to bring its Transform digital skills programme to a wider network of businesses across Ireland.
“Talent has and will continue to play a fundamental role in Ireland’s economic development, and our goal is to increase the number of businesses supported by Skillnet Ireland to 30,000 annually by 2025,” said Paul Healy, chief executive of Skillnet Ireland.
He added that the fact companies invested so much in talent development demonstrated “real belief from the business community in the value and impact of skills development”.
Brendan McGinty, chair of Skillnet Ireland, said the business support agency was pleased to have been able to increase its support to businesses and workers over the past year.
“Both in helping them navigate the immediate challenges a second year of the pandemic brought about and in preparing them for the future with initiatives focused on boosting the digital agenda, the SME sector and climate action,” he added.
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