Posts Tagged ‘upskill’

Hanafin urges unemployed to upskill

Monday, May 18th, 2009

More than 50,000 young people signing on the Live Register are being urged to improve their education, skills and qualifications during the recession.

Over the coming week the Department of Social and Family Affairs will post a letter to all 18 to 25-year-olds on jobseeker’s allowance advising them to look at the options available through their local VEC and adult education access programmes.

Minister Mary Hanafin said improving skills will be the key to economic recovery.

She said: “Young people should not see signing on the Live Register as their future — they should look to see what supports and opportunities are available for them throughout the country.

“We know that people of all skill levels are losing their jobs.

“Young people who may have opted out of the formal education and training opportunities, when the draw of high wages during the boom years was irresistible, are now more likely to remain unemployed if they are not actively upskilling and gaining new expertise.”

Ms Hanafin said the Government is now providing, through Fás, a total of 128,000 training and activation places for unemployed people this year, in addition to some 147,000 places available in further education programmes.

A cut in jobseeker’s allowance payment rates for 18 and 19-year-olds is also aimed at motivating them into taking up full-time training, she said.

“This measure was specifically introduced from this month to help young people gain skills which will give them a route into employment and so help them avoid becoming welfare-dependent from a young age,” Ms Hanafin added.

Source: Irish Times

6 reasons to improve your body language

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

When we’re in school or at work, we’re taught to improve our words. We learn to improve our language and words to impress. We learn to construct clever chains of words to gain an upper hand and to communicate more clearly. But when we grow up we learn very little beyond improving our words.

1. …words are only 7 percent of your communication.
The rest is your voice tonality (38 percent) and your body language at 55 percent. That’s according to research done by Albert Mehrabian, currently Professor Emeritus in psychology at UCLA. These numbers may vary depending upon the situation and what is communicated (for instance, talking over the phone is obviously different from talking face to face) but body language is a very important part of communication.

2. Increase your attractiveness
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. A better posture, a more open body language, a more controlled and focused body language will make everyone more attractive. And not just in a sexual way but when talking to new friends or in job interviews and business meetings.

3. Emotions are linked to your body language
Emotions work backwards too. If you feel good you’ll smile. If you force yourself to smile you’ll feel good too. If you feel tired or down you might sit slumped down. If you sit slumped down you’ll feel more tired and negative. Just try to sit straight up for 5 minutes and feel the difference in energy from half-lying in your chair.

4. Reduce mixed messages
If you’re in a job interview and you talk with a steady voice and say all the confident things you should but your body language tells your maybe-employers that you are very nervous or guarded then you are incongruent (and perhaps without that job). What you want is be congruent, that is for your words, your voice and your body language to say the same thing.

5. Improve your communication skills
If you improve your body language you can get your thoughts across in a more effective way. You can create a connection to another person more easily. When using more powerful and appropriately balanced body language your communication skills become more focused and better.

6. Better first impressions
Everyone stereotypes everyone on first impression, even if we are reluctant to do it. We all get a first impression of a new person that creates a mental image of his or her personality in our minds. That image of you often lasts. Having a better body language will consistently give people a more positive mental snapshot of you.

You can also enhance your knowledge and understanding of body language by registering for our Business Communications course where we look at the whole area of body language and communication.  This course covers:

  • Body Language
  • Written Communication
  • Oral Communication
  • Communication Targets

Ref: Article by Henrik Edberg “6 reasons to improve your body language”, the Postitivity Blog.

Learn New Skills

Monday, October 13th, 2008

It’s been a crazy few months between banks and stock markets and the big recession that is slowly gripping the world.  In an atmosphere like this it is up to everyone to improve their employability and career prospects by learning new skills and upskilling.  You don’t need to wait until your employer arranges this or even leave it so late that your social welfare officer arranges it.  Take the initiative and seek out the training that can make a difference for you.  If you want to keep up with the times, your old skills must be continually sharpened and new ones must be acquired.

Always keep in mind the following:

  • There is no such thing as “Finished Learning.” One who stops learning, stops growing.  Work hard towards sharpening your Foundation and Transferable skills.  It pays to spend some time sharpening your axe before attempting to fell a tree.
  • Keep an eye open for new skills and master them. At the same time, improve the ones you already have.
  • Do some research to find out what skills are and will always be most valued in your industry.  Two sites that may help you here are ‘A Career Guide to Industries’ and ‘Tomorrow’s Jobs’.

Issues that people typically have include the following:

What can I do? – You can do whatever you want to. Right from cooking to eating, you will find information pertaining to any interest that you may have.

Where to look? – Keep your eyes and ears open. There’ll always be something happening in your locality to match your interest.

Universities/Colleges: – Usually, universities and colleges have clubs, societies and student groups which bring together students with similar interests. You can be sure to fit into at least one of them and learn from those who have more experience than you and build networks.

Leisure Centers & Gyms: – These are places where you will find people who like physical activity like hiking, swimming and traveling.

Evening Classes: – Collect details of all evening courses conducted in your area. Learn a language you don’t know, or get trained to do creative things like sewing or origami.

Volunteering: – Though not as glamorous as a lot of other things, the feel-good factor is immensely high! Giving something back to society is an amazing way to boost your morale. And of course, it looks impressive on your CV too and can be used to reinforce your skills and validate new ones.

Distance and Online Learning: – If you prefer to spend more time at home and if that’s the only hindrance you are facing to learning new skills, this is perfect for you. Learn Skills is one of the places where you can start hunting for relevant information about courses and as for online courses, it is the best place to start looking for what you want with a very comprehensive range of courses that cover both skills and compliance based training.  If you have any specific needs you can contact Learn Skills.

Source: CvTips.com article “Learn New Skills”.

E-learning helps USA retailers dump classrooms for the anywhere, anytime Internet

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

By Elizabeth Gardner

USA – 1st March, 2008 – Walk into a City Furniture store in Florida on a slow morning and you’re likely to find a store associate at his computer. It may look like he’s web surfing, but he’s probably brushing up on his knowledge of couch construction or crib safety standards using the retailer’s e-learning system. For the past year, the 15-store chain has been moving its employee training away from classrooms and paper manuals and onto the Internet.

With stores all over south Florida, City Furniture’s 1,100 employees are far flung. “Imagine how challenging it is to get people to come an hour north, or two hours south, or an hour west, for a full-day training session,” says Janet Wincko, director of recruiting and learning. “Every moment they’re driving here and sitting in a class, they’re not selling.” And for employees in the 24/7 distribution center, scheduling classroom training to fit everyone’s odd hours is an additional challenge.

With e-learning, employees can complete little chunks of training; anything from five minutes for a quick briefing on a new product to a 20-minute module on store procedures, whenever they have a spare moment. Their reward is anything from lavish praise to bonuses or promotions. City Furniture’s reward is more training completed at less expense and potentially lower employee turnover and higher sales.

Internet-based e-learning is transforming how stores train their employees, whether it’s how to fold a sweater, how to deal with an angry customer or how to work the point-of-sale system. And sometimes that point-of-sale screen carries the lesson of the day.

“First-tier retailers: those with more than $2 billion in annual sales, all have embraced e-learning”, says Sunita Gupta, executive vice president at the LakeWest Group, a retail consulting firm. It recently completed a survey of 100 top retailers, and more than 70% said better training of store personnel was their top priority.

“Among second tier retailers: those with $500 million to $2 billion in sales, adoption of e-learning varies, and it’s most often used to introduce new technologies or programs”, Gupta adds.

Because e-learning systems are often available as a hosted solution and companies can pay per user, retailers of any size can potentially benefit, says Don Cook, senior vice president of marketing at Learn.com Inc., which includes about 30 retailers, including City Furniture, among its 500 e-learning clients. “We target the mid-market, between 10,000 and 30,000 employees is our sweet spot, but our biggest growth area is companies with less than 1,000,” he says. “Small companies should take training seriously. When you have three stores, it’s easier to develop a training system than if you wait until you have 50 or 100.”

Computer-based training has been around since all screens were black with green letters. The rise of the commercial Internet has made networked computers ubiquitous and inexpensive, giving retailers the ability to easily link trainees with centralized training. And the evolution of Internet technology has spawned a toolbox of presentation techniques as useful for developing training materials as they are for creating flashy web sites. Course developers can choose online video, Internet gaming techniques and other tools that appeal to the young people who form the backbone of many retailers’ sales forces. And those forces can take their training at any Internet-connected computer whenever it’s convenient, whether during a lull at the store or at home in their jammies.

“Retailers realize that e-learning offers a better toolset than traditional training,” Gupta says. “It’s interactive. They can add remedial sections if someone is taking longer than usual to understand something. They can be creative with learning protocols. And they can test as they go to gauge a person’s progress.”

Last year, Hudson’s Bay Co., one of Canada’s largest retailers with more than 580 locations and 50,000 to 70,000 employees depending on the season, realized a two-fold increase in the number of online training courses completed by employees, says Jason Hubbard, senior manager of e-learning and virtual classroom.

His in-house staff of five has produced dozens of e-learning courses over the past four years, not only on specific products and store procedures but also on personal growth topics like dealing with stress and improving language skills. Each course takes about three weeks to create and 15 to 20 minutes for a learner to complete. Hudson’s Bay employees completed more than 160,000 courses in 2007.

And often they revisit those courses for a refresher. “Any trainer will tell you that when someone gets training for a whole day, they’re overwhelmed and don’t remember everything they’ve learned,” Hubbard says. “With this system, you can go online to review specific things. If I do a spreadsheet once a month and I’ve forgotten how to do a PivotTable, I can use the Excel course as a reference tool.”

The courses run on a learning management system from GeoLearning Inc. GeoLearning hosts the system, which provides a platform not only for delivering the courses but for tracking participation and assessing the overall “skill health” of individual employees. The learning management system can serve as a general employee development tool for human resources departments, says Will Hipwell, GeoLearning’s senior vice president of product development.

E-learning can help geographically dispersed organizations develop a common corporate identity, says Angela Vazquez, director of instructional design at AMC Theatres, which operates 300 movie theaters throughout the U.S. and Canada. The company has been using e-learning for about four years. Its system provides courses for about 2,700 employees, including line managers at theaters. Vazquez plans to roll out courses this year for the 20,000 crew-level employees, the ones who pop the popcorn and clean between the seats.

“Having a centralized training function at the home office really helps us standardize and share our culture with remote locations,” Vazquez says. Each course uses the same branded template to give a consistent look and feel.

Face to face?

However, some subjects are still best taught in person, especially if they involve role-playing or lots of personal interaction, says Hudson’s Bay’s Hubbard. But even then, e-learning can streamline the process.

“A class that might have run a full day before can now run half a day because you can play around with the material a little bit online before the course and do follow-up online,” he says. City Furniture, Hudson’s Bay and AMC all use some classroom training in addition to e-learning for a blended approach.

Costs for e-learning vary widely, and the return on investment is sometimes difficult to identify, especially in the first few years when a company is incurring substantial expenses to set up a system and develop courses.

When City Furniture’s Janet Wincko was selling management on e-learning, she stayed away from squishy projections on increased sales or reduced turnover and stuck to the obvious. “Paying a dollar to an instructional designer is comparable to paying a dollar to an instructor,” she says. “But I have to pay the instructor every time he teaches a class, and I only have to pay the designer once.”

For Hudson’s Bay, direct return on its overall e-learning investment isn’t a primary concern, Hubbard says. Sales and management staff have to be trained one way or another, and his most important metric is successful course completions (defined as not only being exposed to the course, but passing the post-course test with an 80% score or better). Nonetheless, he can point to cases where introducing a course on a specific product: for example, digital cameras has resulted in increased sales. “Associates are much more likely to sell something when they’re knowledgeable about the product.”

In general, benefits from e-learning are significant, especially when viewed enterprisewide, some experts say.

“It’s hard to measure what you get back from having sales associates who can actually assist customers,” says LakeWest Group’s Gupta. “But many corporate initiatives fail because the execution doesn’t happen at the store level.”

Source: InternetRetailer.com

Elizabeth Gardner is a Riverside, Ill.-based freelance business writer.

Learn Skills aims to have a comprehensive range of essential skills and compliance training for the Retail Sector available soon, for both individuals and large groups of employees and learners.

Learn Skills announces content partnership with nursing content factory MedSenses

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008
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Courseware BY nurses FOR nurses

Ireland – 6th October, 2008 – Learn Skills is pleased to announce its latest content partnership with MedSenses, an elite nursing content factory based in Canada, focused on building courseware BY nurses FOR nurses.

MedSenses, having researched maximum learner retention strategies, add custom design elements such as 3-D animations, medical illustrations, case scenarios, and clinical expertise – making all of their courses come alive with color and interactivity. Learn Skills through its partnership with MedSenses is pleased to offer one-stop shopping for any healthcare-related corporation in meeting the emerging need for high quality, relevant, and cost-effective training.

Learn Skills can now offer a variety of titles in the following sectors: Medical-Surgical, Cardiac, Critical Care, Compliance, Pediatrics, Newborn, Neonatal, Emergency, Ground Transport, and Flight Transport, offering a curriculum of over 400 contact hours through our Learn Skills LMS.  Healthcare organizations can now offer a high quality, cost-effective solution for their continuing-education programs – all while offering their nursing staff their annual CE credits!

Whether you are an individual nurse looking to upskill or a group of employees spread across numerous location, we have a solution for you and also you need to is Contact Us about your individual requirements.

Basics of Time and Stress Management

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

The role of leader can be very stressful! Management studies have suggested that these roles include a very wide mix of activities, most of which cannot always be controlled or even predicted.

New managers and supervisors – especially supervisors – are almost overwhelmed with the demands of the job. They were probably promoted to be in charge of people, mostly because of their success in a previous role that was focused on developing a particular product or service. Suddenly, they’re faced with being in charge of people, which is much less predictable and has much less control than the supervisor had before. Consequently, the ability to manage time and stress is absolutely critical to the success of the roles of manager and leader.

The two topics of time management and stress management are often addressed together because they are so closely interrelated.

Myths About Stress and Time Management

  1. All stress is bad. No, there’s good and bad stress. Good stress is excitement, thrills, etc. The goal is to recognize personal signs of bad stress and deal with them.
  2. Planning my time just takes more time. Actually, research shows the opposite.
  3. I get more done in more time when I wisely use caffeine, sugar, alcohol or nicotine. Wrong! Research shows that the body always has to “come down” and when it does, you can’t always be very effective then after the boost.
  4. A time management problem means that there’s not enough time to get done what needs to get done. No, a time management problem is not using your time to your fullest advantage, to get done what you want done.
  5. The busier I am, the better I’m using my time. Look out! You may only be doing what’s urgent, and not what’s important.
  6. I feel very harried, busy, so I must have a time management problem. Not necessarily. You should verify that you have a time management problem. This requires knowing what you really want to get done and if it is getting done or not.
  7. I feel OK, so I must not be stressed. In reality, many adults don’t even know when they’re really stressed out until their bodies tell them so. They miss the early warning signs from their body, for example, headaches, still backs, twitches, etc.

Major Causes of Workplace Stress

1. Not knowing what you want or if you’re getting it – poor planning.
2. The feeling that there’s too much to do. One can have this feeling even if there’s hardly anything to do at all.
3. Not enjoying your job. This can be caused by lots of things, for example, not knowing what you want, not eating well, etc. However, most people always blame their jobs.
4. Conflicting demands on the job.
5. Insufficient resources to do the job.
6. Not feeling appreciated.

Biggest Time Wasters

1. Interruptions. There will always be interruptions. It’s how they’re handled that wastes time.
2. Hopelessness. People “give in”, “numb out” and “march through the day”.
3. Poor delegation skills. This involves not sharing work with others.

Common Symptoms of Poor Stress and Time Management

1. Irritability. Fellow workers notice this first.
2. Fatigue. How many adults even notice this?
3. Difficulty concentrating. You often don’t need to just to get through the day!
4. Forgetfulness. You can’t remember what you did all day, what you ate yesterday.
5. Loss of sleep. This affects everything else!
6. Physical disorders, for example, headaches, rashes, tics, cramps, etc.
7. At worst, withdrawal and depression.

Wise Principles of Good Stress and Time Management

1. Learn your signs for being overstressed or having a time management problem. Ask your friends about you. Perhaps they can tell you what they see from you when you’re overstressed.
2. Most people feel that they are stressed and/or have a time management problem. Verify that you really have a problem. What do you see, hear or feel that leads you to conclude that you have a time or stress problem?
3. Don’t have the illusion that doing more will make you happier. Is it quantity of time that you want, or quality?
4. Stress and time management problems have many causes and usually require more than one technique to fix. You don’t need a lot of techniques, usually more than one, but not a lot.
5. One of the major benefits of doing time planning is feeling that you’re in control.
6. Focus on results, not on busyness.
7. It’s the trying that counts – at least as much as doing the perfect technique.

Simple Techniques to Manage Stress

There are lots of things people can do to cut down on stress. Most people probably even know what they could do. It’s not the lack of knowing what to do in order to cut down stress; it is doing what you know you have to do. The following techniques are geared to help you do what you know you have to do.
1. Talk to someone. You don’t have to fix the problem, just report it.
2. Notice if any of the muscles in your body are tense. Just noticing that will often relax the muscle.
3. Ask your boss if you’re doing OK. This simple question can make a lot of difference and verify wrong impressions.
4. Delegate.
5. If you take on a technique to manage stress, tell someone else. They can help you be accountable to them and yourself.
6. Cut down on caffeine and sweets. Take a walk instead. Tell someone that you’re going to do that.
7. Use basic techniques of planning, problem solving and decision making.
Concise guidelines are included in this guidebook. Tell someone that you’re going to use these techniques.
8. Monitor the number of hours that you work in a week. Tell your boss, family and/or friends how many hours that you are working.
9. Write weekly status reports. Include what you’ve accomplished last week and plan to do next week. Include any current issues or recommendations that you must report to your boss. Give the written status report to your boss on a weekly basis.
10. “Wash the dishes”. Do something you can feel good about.

Simple Techniques to Manage Time

There never seems to be enough time in the roles of management and supervision. Therefore, the goal of time management should not be to find more time. The goal is set a reasonable amount of time to spend on these roles and then use that time wisely.
1. Start with the simple techniques of stress management above.
2. Managing time takes practice. Practice asking yourself this question throughout the day: “Is this what I want or need to be doing right now?” If yes, then keep doing it.
3. Find some way to realistically and practically analyze your time. Logging your time for a week in 15-minute intervals is not that hard and does not take up that much time. Do it for a week and review your results.
4. Do a “todo” list for your day. Do it at the end of the previous day. Mark items as “A” and “B” in priority. Set aside two hours right away each day to do the important “A” items and then do the “B” items in the afternoon. Let your answering machine take your calls during your “A” time.
5. At the end of your day, spend five minutes cleaning up your space. Use this time, too, to organize your space, including your desktop. That’ll give you a clean start for the next day.
6. Learn the difference between “Where can I help?” and “Where am I really needed?” Experienced leaders learn that the last question is much more important than the former.
7. Learn the difference between “Do I need to do this now?” and “Do I need to do this at all?” Experienced leaders learn how to quickly answer this question when faced with a new task.
8. Delegate. Delegation shows up as a frequent suggestion in this guide because it is one of the most important skills for a leader to have. Effective delegation will free up a great deal of time for you.
9. If you are CEO in a corporation, then ask your Board for help. They are responsible to supervise you, as a CEO. Although the Board should not be micro-managing you, that is, involved in the day-to-day activities of the corporation, they still might have some ideas to help you with your time management. Remember, too, that good time management comes from good planning, and the Board is responsible to oversee development of major plans. Thus, the Board may be able to help you by doing a better themselves in their responsibilities as planners for the organization.
10. Use a “Do Not Disturb” sign! During the early part of the day, when you’re attending to your important items (your “A” list), hang this sign on the doorknob outside your door.
11. Sort your mail into categories including “read now”, “handle now” and “read later”. You’ll quickly get a knack for sorting through your mail. You’ll also notice that much of what you think you need to read later wasn’t really all that important anyway.
12. Read your mail at the same time each day.
That way, you’ll likely get to your mail on a regular basis and won’t become distracted into any certain piece of mail that ends up taking too much of your time.
13. Have a place for everything and put everything in its place.
That way, you’ll know where to find it when you need it. Another important outcome is that your people will see that you are somewhat organized, rather than out of control.
14. Best suggestion for saving time – schedule 10 minutes to do nothing.
That time can be used to just sit and clear your mind. You’ll end up thinking more clearly, resulting in more time in your day. The best outcome of this practice is that it reminds you that you’re not a slave to a clock – and that if you take 10 minutes out of your day, you and your organization won’t fall apart.
15. Learn good meeting management skills.

Written by Carter McNamara, MBA, PhD, Authenticity Consulting, LLC.

National Skills Strategy – Hospitality, Leisure, Travel and Tourism sector in England

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

In March 2007, the then Minister for Tourism, Shaun Woodward MP launched the National Skills Strategy (NSS) for the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism sector in England.

The strategy called ‘raising the bar’ set out a Ten Point Plan to raise the skill levels of the sector’s current and future workforce. As the title suggests it also alluded to the massive opportunity that hosting the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games presents for the sector.

Hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism is a large, exciting, diverse and dynamic sector. It has a global reputation for quality and innovation which are richly deserved. However, the sector could be achieving much more if employers were able to recruit the right people with the right skills and that they could hold on to a highly skilled workforce. This is what the strategy aims to achieve. There are no easy answers, but what the ten point plan presents is a clear strategy to tackle existing challenges and raise the skills and performance of the sector.

Hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism is a large and growing sector currently employing nearly 1.4m people in England. The sector is made up of 14 industries; these vary in size with the largest industry – restaurants employing over 430,000 people and the smallest – youth hostels just over 1,600. England accounts for 83% of all sector employment across the UK.

There are approximately 155,958 individual hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism establishments in England of which a third are pubs, bars and nightclubs and an additional third are restaurants. Small and micro businesses are predominant with 76% of establishments employing fewer than 10 people. However, in terms of the workforce the industry is highly polarised. For example, in hospitality 45% of employees work for 280 employers and another 45% are employed in small and micro businesses.

The sector is hugely important for the economy. In 2005, it accounted for 3.5% of the UK economy and was worth approximately £85bn. In 2005 the UK ranked fifth in the international tourism earnings league behind the USA, Spain, France and Italy.

Sector performance is being undermined by a poor skills record:

  • 54% of managers do not possess the minimum level of qualification required for their position
  • 63% of employers believe their staff’s customer service skills are not sufficient to meet their needs
  • 40% of chefs do not possess a qualification at level 2, the minimum required to prepare and cook from scratch
  • High labour turnover is resulting in a chronic recruitment crisis with 70 percent of recruitment being undertaken to replace existing staff
  • Conservative estimates suggest that we are annually losing 590,640 people or 30% of the workforce
  • This costs the sector £886m a year
  • By 2012, the sector would have lost 4.1m people costing the sector £6.2bn.

Learn Skills has sellected the Hospitality Sector as one it will focus on to deliver quality web-based training in order to upskill and improve retention rates among staff.  As in Ireland, the Hospitality sector is essential to the success of the economy as a whole and web-based training can delivery increased value and consistency of delivery to both employees and management with the Hospitality sector.

Skills Challenge Facing The Irish Economy

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Ireland – 15th May, 2008 – The skills challenge facing the Irish economy was the subject of a major seminar organised jointly by the National College of Ireland (NCI) and the National Centre for Partnership and Performance (NCPP), and held in Dublin on May 15.

The ‘Learning at Work’ seminar was chaired by NCPP director Lucy Fallon-Byrne and was addressed by Minister for Lifelong Learning Seán Haughey, Leo Casey of the Centre for Research and Innovation in Learning and Teaching and Prof Chip Bruce, National College of Ireland.

Four national initiatives, designed to promote and encourage learning at work, were showcased also at the seminar, providing the 100-plus delegates with real-life examples of innovative responses to the future skills challenge.

Among the issues discussed at the seminar were:

  • The role of workplace learning in driving and growing the Irish economy;
  • The opportunities for, and obstacles to, workplace learning that exist in Ireland today;
  • Effective ways of engaging employers and employees to ensure Ireland is equipped for the future skills challenge.

National College of Ireland president Paul Mooney said the message was simple:

“For Ireland Inc. to succeed, the barriers to workplace learning must be identified and systematically removed. To survive and prosper in a tougher global environment, we need to collectively up our game to out-think the competition.

“The highest performing companies of the future are the ones that are becoming engaged in workplace learning initiatives today. The time is now and there is zero room for complacency on this. The future is decided by those who sense change and actually start to do something to respond to this. For everyone else, the time bomb is ticking.”

A new DVD was launched by Minister Haughey. Produced by NCPP, the DVD profiles the practical experiences of five Irish public and private-sector organisations that have recognised and embraced workplace learning as an enabler of change. Their stories illustrate the value of promoting human talent and creativity in the workplace, and make a powerful business case for lifelong learning and workplace training and development.  Upskilling is now a necessity.

Copies of the DVD are available (free of charge) on request from the National Centre for Partnership and Performance.  Simply drop an email to Conor (conor@ncpp.ie) with your contact details, and he’ll post them out to you as soon as possible.

Source: Education MATTERS

Skills Road Map to 2020 Identified

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Ireland – 6th March, 2007 –   The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mr Micheál Martin TD, and the Minister for Education and Science, Mary Hanafin TD, today(6 March 2007) jointly launched a new national skills strategy, Tomorrow’s Skills: Towards a National Skills Strategy. The Strategy was preparedby the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN). It identifies Ireland’s current skills profile, provides a strategic vision and specific objectives for Ireland’s future skills requirements, and sets out a road map for how the vision and objectives can be achieved. The implementation of the Strategy will help to secure the future competitive advantage of enterprises in Ireland and enhance future growth in productivity and living standards.

For the first time the Strategy sets out clear long-term objectives for our education and training requirements to develop Ireland as a knowledge-based, innovation-driven, participative and inclusive economy with a highly skilled workforce by 2020. The Expert Group believes this vision is achievable. The Expert Group recommends that 93 percent of the Irish labour force should have qualifications at, or above, leaving certificate level by 2020, and that 48 percent should have a third or fourth-level qualification by then.

Minister Martin said, “This report provides a comprehensive vision for Ireland’s future skills requirements and also provides a strategic framework from which the relevant Government Departments and State Agencies can build. The strategy launched today is complementary to the Strategy for Science, Technology and Innovation launched in 2006.”

Minister Hanafin said, “The report identifies central challenges in ensuring a continuing supply of the skills needed for our future competitiveness and prosperity.  It brings into sharp focus the long-term importance of many elements of the policies we are pursuing to advance access, participation, quality and attainment at all levels of the education system.”

Anne Heraty, Chairperson of the EGFSN said, “To date education and training policy has served Ireland well. Ireland now has an opportunity to drive economic development through building our skills capability. This report provides an overarching policy framework for the development of coherent education and training strategies to meet current and future skills needs.”

Key Proposals for 2020:

  • 48 percent of the labour force should have qualifications at National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ) Levels 6 to 10 – from National Certificate to PhD level;
  • 45 percent should have qualifications at NFQ levels 4 and 5 – Awards equivalent to Leaving Certificate Examination;
  • The remaining seven percent are likely to have qualifications at NFQ levels 1 to 3 (i.e. below Junior Certificate) while aiming to transition to higher levels.

Skills Road Map to 2020 – Achieving the Vision

  • An additional 500,000 individuals within the workforce will need to be upskilled and to progress by at least one NFQ level over and above their current level of education and training;
  • The Leaving Certificate retention rate for young people should rise to 90 percent;
  • By 2020, the proportion of the population aged 20-24 with NFQ level 4 or 5 qualification (Leaving Certificate or equivalent), should be increased to 94 percent;
  • The progression from second- to third-level education should increase from 55 percent to 72 percent; and
  • The report also highlights the need for:
    • Integration of immigrants into the education and training system, at all levels;
    • Career guidance and mentoring for those at work;
    • Assistance for individuals and companies in identifying their skills needs;
    • More awareness programmes that highlight the benefits of education and training; and,
    • Education and training provision needs to be flexible and responsive to the needs of employers and employees

    The full text of this report and background documents is available at www.skillsstrategy.ie

Upskilling is the obvious response, says Adult Learning Organisation

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

Ireland – 11th June, 2008 –  AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation, today repeated calls for the government to take action following the increase in those signing on the live register as outlined by the CSO . The figures reflect the highest increase in the number of those signing on the live register since July 1999 with the figure now standing in excess of 200,000.

Reacting to the statistics, Berni Brady, AONTAS Director urged the government to turn its immediate attention to the issue of upskilling those members of the workforce most at risk of unemployment in the event of an economic downturn. ‘Although we were aware that those employed in the construction sector were most at risk, the fact that more women are now signing on the live register is deeply worrying.’

Yesterday, the INOU issued a statement outlining their concern at the lack of government response to these trends.

‘A practical response to this issue involves providing opportunities for those in employment to upskill within the workplace’, continued Ms Brady. This would enable workers to make the transition from one sector to another, and to consider alternative employment options. AONTAS is concerned at the lack of progress regarding the ambitious targets identified within the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs report. Given that economists have predicted another increase in unemployment over the next six to twelve months period, the government must take heed, and act accordingly, through a speedier implementation of the National Skills Strategy‘ she concluded.

AONTAS is the National Adult Learning Organisation. AONTAS is a non-government membership organisation, established in 1969. The organisation’s mission is to ensure that every adult in Ireland has access to appropriate and affordable learning opportunities throughout their lives, thus enabling them to contribute to and participate in the economic, social, civic and cultural development of Irish society. AONTAS is a registered charity and a company limited by guarantee. AONTAS represents over 600 members, ranging from statutory providers of adult education, such as VECs and third level institutions, to voluntary providers of community education, to individual adult learners and those with a general interest in adult education. The role of AONTAS is to work towards improving the adult education sector in Ireland through policy development, promoting the benefits of adult education and research.
The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs was established in 1997. The group advises government on future skills requirements and associated labour market issues that impact on national potential for enterprise and employment growth. In March 2007 the group published a report entitled ‘Tomorrow’s Skills : Towards a National Skills Strategy’ which included an outline of the skills required for Ireland to develop over the period to 2020 as a competitive, innovation-driven, knowledge-based, participative and inclusive economy.

Source: AONTAS Press Release