Consultation on proposed Exchequer-Employer Investment Mechanism

24 March 2017 

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Minister Bruton and Minister Donohoe launch consultation on proposed Exchequer-Employer Investment Mechanism aimed at providing €200million in extra funding and better outcomes for students and wider society.

Skills, research and disadvantage at the heart of Government plans to provide better funding for higher and further education. Views of employers will be carefully listened to in context of Brexit and the need to provide more skilled workers for growing economy.

Both Ministers have agreed that a proposed increase in the National Training Fund should be considered in relation to the funding needs of both the higher education and further education and training sectors. The initiative forms part of a broader plan for the higher and further education sector, as part of the Action Plan for Education, aimed at dealing with the three key issues of skills, research and disadvantage. The outcomes to be delivered include:

  • Increase the number of people doing traineeships and apprenticeships from 5,500 to 14,000; in total provide 50,000 apprenticeship and traineeship registrations by 2020
  • Provide 50,000 upskilling and reskilling places in HE by 2021 to meet identified skills gaps in the economy and to support an increase in Lifelong Learning. Of these places, 6,000 are annual upskilling and reskilling courses, currently under Springboard+, focused on key strategic skills
  • Increase the number of HE students undertaking a work placement or work based project as part of their course by 25% by 2021
  • Increase by 30% in the number of students from disadvantaged areas attending higher level
  • Increase annual research masters and postgraduate students by 500 to 2,250 as set out in Innovation 2020.  Of these places, the Action Plan for Education 2017 aims for 200 postgraduate research enrolments and 20 funded postdoctoral places
  • Complete the delivery of a 10% increase in the number of employees reached by Skillnets between 2016 and 2017

While the consultation process is targeted in the first instance at key industry and employer stakeholders, comments are also invited from individual members of the public, groups or organisations.  Comments may be submitted to the Departments of Education and Skills and Public Expenditure and Reform to the email address: Or  by post to John McDermott, Higher Education Funding and Governance Section, Department of Education and Skills, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1, D01 RC96. The deadline for receipt of comments is 5 p.m. on Thursday 13th April 2017.

The consultation paper is available on the website of the Department of Education and Skills at Public Consultation on Exchequer-Employer Investment and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform at