Government of Ireland
Regional Skills

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OECD Examination of Ireland Skills Strategy

26 November 2021 

Minister Harris and OECD Secretary General Mathias Cormann announce plans for an examination of Ireland’s Skills Strategy

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris and Secretary General Mathias Cormann met in Paris today to launch an examination project of Ireland’s Skills Strategy. This project will review the National Skills Strategy 2016 – 2025 and examine how Ireland is equipped to meet current and future skills needs.

Speaking at the launch Minister Harris said: “The pandemic has accelerated changes to the way we live and work. Unfortunately, it has also seen many people lose their jobs. Ireland has placed a central focus on talent and skills policies, including in our Economic Recovery Plan, launched earlier this year. We have a well-developed system for the provision of skills. We need to build on this, so those who lost their jobs can embark on new and sustainable careers, and so that people have the necessary skills to ensure society keeps up with the pace of change’’.

 “I was delighted to meet with Secretary General Cormann in Paris today. Ireland is proud to have a longstanding close partnership with the OECD. I know that SG Cormann, and his colleagues in the OECD, understand that education, skills and lifelong learning are the most robust, transformative and lasting means to future-proof a country’s economic and social wellbeing. The project being launched today will greatly assist the Department in its examination of our Skills Strategy - in order to ensure that we have a solid foundation on which to build Ireland’s competitiveness and support future economic and social sustainability - through an ambitious and comprehensive approach to the skills, talent and human capital development of its working age population.”

The following four overarching priority areas for the project have been identified:

  1. Securing balance in skills through a responsive and diversified supply of skills
  2. Fostering greater participation in lifelong learning in and outside of the workplace
  3. Strengthening the governance across a joined up skills ecosystem
  4. Leveraging skills to drive innovation and strengthen the performance of firms.

The project will work closely with our skills architecture, the National Skills Council and Regional Skills Fora, and will consider elements such as how the Higher Education and Further Education and Training and skills ecosystem, as a whole, is balanced, joined up and responsive to current and future labour market needs; how to strengthen a culture of lifelong learning; and, how skills can drive innovation.

Secretary Cormann said: “Ireland, like other OECD Member countries, is being profoundly transformed by the continuing impacts of global megatrends, including, automation, digitalisation, and climate change, as well as by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It is therefore essential that Ireland is ready to confront these challenges and seize the opportunities of the future by ensuring it has the right skills and uses these skills fully and effectively.

“With that in mind, the OECD is looking forward to working with the Government of Ireland and Irish stakeholders on a collaborative OECD Skills Strategy project to ensure Ireland has the skills it needs to succeed today and tomorrow.”

The OECDSkills Strategy Ireland: Assessment and Recommendations report will be published in 2023.