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We need to stop training people for jobs that don’t exist – Quinlivan

10 January, 2018 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Business, Enterprise, and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD today commented on findings in an ESRI report which found that the current PLC education system is not providing the changing labour market with the skills needed.

Deputy Quinlivan also called for more investment for apprenticeship programmes to address growing skills shortages.

Speaking from his Limerick City constituency today, Teachta Quinlivan said;

“This report from the ESRI is very welcome, having taken an in depth look how the PLC education system is serving the labour market requirements.

“The PLC system represents the largest component of full time further education and training provision in Ireland with 32,000 students enrolled and a spend of €160 million per annum. How the system serves students and industry is therefore vitally important.

“Unfortunately, some of the conclusions in the report make for concerning reading, as the ESRI found that places in Post-Leaving Certificate courses exist in ‘exist in areas where they have always existed, rather than because of strategic planning’.

“In addition, the report finds that ‘there is evidence of substantial levels of oversupply in some areas’ while ‘there is little evidence that the number of places and composition of provision is reactive to changing labour market conditions’.

“There is no point in training and educating people in areas where jobs do not exist, while other sectors of the economy struggle to find workers trained in their field.

“The Restaurants Association of Ireland gave evidence to the Oireachtas Committee on Business, Enterprise, and Innovation before Christmas highlighting the skills shortage in their sector, saying 5,000 chefs and 28,000 other workers are needed in the industry in the coming years.

“In contrast, this report finds that the ratio of places to jobs in the childhood care and education is 4:1, highlighting a total disconnect between industry requirements and resulting in graduates struggling to find work in their field.

“It is Sinn Féin’s assertion that apprenticeships are a more suitable form of education and training, allowing students to earn and learn, while also obtaining a qualification and work experience. In addition, apprenticeships are based on finding work with an employer first, ensuring students are qualifying in an industry where positions are available.

“We have been advocating for more investment and expansion of the apprenticeship system, but unfortunately the government is not listening.

“The government’s own apprenticeship targets were 62% behind at the end of 2017, with just 302 of 800 planned students in new apprenticeship programmes.

 “I have no doubt targets will continue to be missed, as the apprenticeship budget for 2018 was a casualty of Fine Gael’s ‘cup of coffee’ budget, with €13.3 million for 2018 being wiped off previously announced funding for the sector.

“Fine Gael needs to wake up and address the escalating skills shortage, or it will turn into a full-blown crisis that they can add to their growing list of crises in health, housing, homelessness and justice.” 

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