The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, T.D, has today published a comprehensive independent review of the National Training Fund.
The National Training Fund (NTF) was established by the National Training Fund Act 2000 to raise the skills of those in employment, to give relevant skills to those preparing for employment and to support lifelong learning.
The review of the NTF was commissioned by the Department of Education and Skills as part of a package of reforms announced to accompany the decision in Budget 2018 to raise the NTF levy. This followed a consultation process with key stakeholders, during which issues were raised regarding the transparency of the use of the Fund, the alignment of expenditure for employer needs and the role of employers in informing expenditure priorities. The independent review, which was undertaken by Indecon, examines the existing operation of the NTF and provides recommendations to inform its future direction. There are 14 specific recommendations across 4 key areas:
- Reform of the future direction of the NTF.
- Utilising the NTF to support investment in Higher Education.
- Enhancing enterprise engagement and input to NTF priorities.
- Improvements in monitoring/evaluation of the NTF.
Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D., said, “I welcome the clear emphasis placed by the Report on making the National Training Fund more responsive to the changing world of work. It is vital that enterprise becomes more engaged in the challenge of upskilling, in shaping optimal programs and in examining their impact. It is through the way that we develop and deploy talent that we will enhance enterprise success and raise living standards. I welcome the recommendations contained in the review - the implementation of these recommendations is an important step in the ongoing reform of the Fund.
“I have asked my officials to prepare an Implementation Plan for publication to deliver these important recommendations. In particular I have asked for a specific focus on early action to meet pressing skill needs, to secure greater employer engagement and to strengthen governance and oversight of the Fund in advance of Budget 2019.”
The Minister went on to say, “the NTF is a key enabler in the development of the skills and human capital that power our economic performance in a rapidly changing world. I have set out our ambition to have the best education and training service in Europe by 2026. A key part of this is to equip our citizens and businesses with the skills they need to thrive, even in a time of uncertainty.”
The report can be accessed on the Department for Education & Skills website at the following link: https://www.education.ie/en/Press-Events/Press-Releases/2018-press-releases/indecon-review-of-national-training-fund.pdf