Ireland’s State-funded training and upskilling body Skillnets is launching a new €500,000 training fund specifically aimed at companies in the private sector. Groups of companies must team up to form a network to apply for funding.
Under the fund, Skillnets will give grants to new training networks to pilot the delivery of training.
Successful applicants will have to match the Skillnets funding by at least 50pc of all costs associated with delivering training.
Skillnets currently funds and gives training through 55 networks of companies in a range of sectors and regions. Up to now, it has helped more than 60,000 Irish companies to upskill more than 275,000 employees. Since 2010, Skillnets has also trained more than 9,000 job seekers.
The organisation’s CEO Alan Nuzum said Skillnets is focusing on the need to preserve jobs and create new jobs through industry-led training interventions.
"With this new funding round, we are placing a particular emphasis on training for regions and industries not fully serviced by the training networks already in operation," he said.
Nuzum said applications would be encouraged from networks in the Border and Midlands regions in particular.
He said the new programme would also be honing in on industries such as ICT, life sciences, manufacturing, electronics and engineering, and the green economy.
"We are looking forward to expanding the reach of Skillnets with this new call," said Nuzum.
Paul Sweetman, the director of ICT Ireland and the Irish Software Association, is involved in two of the existing training networks supported by Skillnets.
He said the funding is crucial in enabling many companies to upskill their workforce in the face of strong international competition for projects that require high-level skills.
"Many of the programmes developed by the ICT Ireland and ISA Software Skillnet networks have secured corporate investment in Ireland and are now recognised internationally as giving us a key competitive advantage," said Sweetman.
The €500,000 fund will be open for applications until 30 April. Skillnets will provide funding for training activities from 1 June until the end of the year.