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Ireland  [1]  Context of national VET/HRD policies

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The main body of research related to VET in Ireland is conducted by FÁS -Training and Employment Authority. Research is generally geared towards identifying trends in the labour market and undertaking skills analysis to assist in the provision of training and employment programmes where the need is identified. In its 'Training Strategy' (2005) FÁS advocates the development of a National Human Resource and Skills Development Strategy for which FÁS would provide expertise based on its considerable expertise in the area of labour market trends and skill needs research. 

The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs was established to advise the government on aspects of education and training related to the future skills requirements of the enterprise sector of the Irish economy. As a consequence of the Group’s recommendations there has been significant expansion in funding in 2005 for schemes aimed at upskilling persons in employment. The FÁS-based Skills and Labour Market Research Unit (SLMRU), a member of Cedefop Skillnets, undertakes research for the Expert Group. The Unit has developed a database of statistics on skills in Ireland and published its first National Skills Bulletin. This annual series will provide statistics on skills and occupational trends. 

The National Centre for Partnership and Performance (NCPP) through its Forum on the Workplace of the Future, undertook a systematic analysis of the Irish workplace and its report 'Working to Our Advantage, a National Workplace Strategy' (2005) presents the result of its extensive consultation and research process. The latter involved surveys of employers and employees’ views and experiences by the Economic and Social Research Institute. The Report contains recommendations for a National Workplace Strategy which focus on developing five goals, one of which includes upskilling the workforce and developing skill sets. An implementation group has been established to oversee the introduction of the strategy. A collaborative action research project involving the NCPP and FÁS, which aimed to identify and promote effective learning in public and private sector organisations, concluded during the year and a report on the research was published recently.

Research was undertaken during the year by FÁS on behalf of the OECD for its series employment policies and older workers. The report researched the main barriers to employment for older workers and the effectiveness of existing measures to overcome these barriers. (See also section 6.)

The issues of access/barriers to employment and education/training for disadvantaged groups including early school leavers, migrants, lone parents, people with disabilities, older workers were the subjects of research. The National Economic and Social Forum reported on these barriers and looked at the ways local labour market and social inclusion measures can help these disadvantaged groups gain employment. The Irish Vocational Education Association has continued its research into the development of educational provision at second level and further level for migrant workers.

In the area of qualifications, research has been conducted into international practice in quality assurance in higher education to assist the National Qualifications Authority in assessing the performance of the Higher Education and Training Awards Council.

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Source: Cedefop - National Research Report Ireland (details see Bibliography)
Editor: Sabine Manning  © WIFO