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Graduate Careers Q3 2022

Connecting education with future skills

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Simon Harris

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science

Education reforms will deliver solutions for current and future challenges.

Ireland has one of the most educated populations in the world. We need to strengthen the impact of education by connecting more closely to skills needs. This talent will see us overcome the ongoing challenges of digitalisation and climate breakdown. We will be better positioned to meet global disruptions such as the invasion of Ukraine and humanitarian response as well as the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Unified third level education

Third level has a place for everyone. But not everyone thinks they can get the qualification they want or need without attending university. We are changing this through a programme of reform and a €307 million package. We are creating more pathways for young people leaving school or people returning to education. We are joining the dots between all training centres, colleges, universities and research labs in the country.

We are creating a system that works for every student and worker who might wish to continue their education and develop new skills.

There is a route for everyone

That’s why we are working with all partners in third level education to build a system where there are pathways from the local college to the regional university or one of the five new technological universities across the country.

We have reformed the third level application process so that now, for the first time, students can see CAO and further education and apprenticeship options on the same webpage. We have big plans to drive forward reforms so that third level is open to everyone to get the education they desire, to meet the skills employers want and what we need as a country to prosper.

Developing skills for life

Later this year, I will bring proposals to the Government on how Ireland can increase its participation in lifelong learning. We are creating a system that works for every student and worker who might wish to continue their education and develop new skills.

Employers and public services need people who are reskilling and upskilling to meet the challenges of digitalisation and climate breakdown.

One of my priorities is to put structures and supports in place so that workers can upskill and employers can benefit. Our new Pact for Skills will achieve just that.

New investment in further education

The infrastructure available to many further education colleges is not reflective of the hugely important role that it plays in skills development and nourishing individuals to reach their full potential.

This year, we have started to change that, with the announcement of a multimillion-euro capital investment into 13 projects across the country. From new classrooms to labs to facilities across the colleges. This is only the beginning. Under the Government’s National Development Plan, there is more to come.

Reforming policies towards a better system, delivering lifelong learning that works for employers and students, and investing in facilities. These are just some of the ways we are connecting education with future skills to deliver solutions for the challenges now and into the future.

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