Vocational education and training for the future of work: Ireland

23 June 2020 

Vocational education and training for the future of work: Ireland

New Report on behalf of Cedefop from the SOLAS Skills & Labour Market Research team about the policies & initiatives to prepare FET for digitalisation & future of work technologies.


In Ireland, policy developments in relation to VET reform are mainly articulated through strategies drawn up by the Department (Ministry) of Education and Skills, either directly or through its agencies. Such agencies include SOLAS (further education and training authority), the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI), the Apprenticeship Council, Aontas (adult learning), among others

In addition, while not directly related to vocational education and training, or indeed the education and training system, the work of other Government Departments also impacts on education policy. The two most significant initiatives in relation to digitalisation and future of work technologies include the National Digital Strategy and the Future of Jobs Programme. Neither initiative specifically focuses on vocational education and training, although they both recognise that all sectors of the education system play a key role in delivering the objectives set out in these initiatives. As a result, several developments in education and training strategy and policy have been elaborated within the context of these (and other) broader initiatives, e.g. National Skills Strategy 2025 (2016) or the ICT Skills Action Plan (2018). These education and training related strategies have in turn impacted directly and indirectly on VET policy in recent years.  Within the context of more general education and training strategies and action plans, there have been a small number of VET-specific plans: relevant to preparing learners for the future of work are the Strategy for Technology Enhanced Learning in Further Education and Training 2016-19, the Action Plan to Expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship in Ireland 2016-20, the Skills to Advance Programme, and the Explore Programme.