A message from Paul Healy, Chief Executive, Skillnets

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As 2016 draws to a close I would like to take this opportunity to reflect on some of our highlights from the past few months. It has been a busy but rewarding period for the Skillnets team, our 63 networks and our wider stakeholders, as we brought together the key initiatives that will set the direction for Skillnets over the coming years.  

The Skillnets Statement of Strategy 2016-2019 was officially launched in November by Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, TD. We were delighted to have over 120 guests, including many network members, join us for this important occasion. The Minister spoke of the successful role Skillnets has played in driving the talent agenda and our importance for job-creation. He outlined Government plans to create 200,000 new jobs by 2020 and spoke positively about the Skillnets enterprise-led model and our future ambitions. We worked hard to align our strategy with national workforce development aims expressed in the National Skills Strategy 2025 and other relevant policies, and the Minister commended these efforts.

Over the next four years, Skillnets will be driven by three strategic goals that take into consideration our funding, national policy, the needs of enterprise and the economic context. Firstly, training effectiveness, impact and relevance will be core to our activities. Skillnets will promote continuous improvement in the learning experiences provided to enterprise through our networks, and will be a model for training excellence in an enterprise context. Secondly, Skillnets will play a pivotal role in maintaining a supply of the specific skills and future skills that impact the growth potential and competitiveness of Irish enterprise. Thirdly, we will promote increased participation of employers in the Skillnets proposition. In doing so, Skillnets will be a key enabler in sustaining national competitiveness through the up-skilling of those in employment. Having launched the strategy, we have entered into the implementation phase with vigour through our Programme Management Office (PMO), and we look forward to reporting on progress throughout 2017.  For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity yet, I would encourage you to read about the Skillnets Statement of Strategy 2016-2019 here.

Indecon’s evaluation of the Skillnets Training Networks Programme, ManagementWorks, Finuas and the Job-seekers Support Programme (2015) was recently published and the findings are compelling.  The annual independent evaluation is an important undertaking for us and essential in assessing the standing of the organisation in relation to our mandate. We were delighted to see that enterprise participation grew significantly in 2015 with 12,861 companies participating across all our programmes, representing an annual increase of 18%. Overall there were very high satisfaction levels with the quality of the training delivered with 92% of member companies stating that Skillnets training represented value for money, while 74% reported that Skillnets membership has enhanced their service or product quality. Indecon also noted that between 747 and 983 jobs were created across all ManagementWorks companies during 2015, attributed (directly or indirectly) to participation in this programme. The full report can be read here

Finally, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the Management Work companies, Skillnets network community, staff and Board for their hard work this year.

Wishing you a happy Christmas and a successful year in 2017.

Paul Healy, Chief Executive, Skillnets

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Paul Healy is Chief Executive of Skillnets.