Government of Ireland
Regional Skills

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National Skills Council holds extraordinary meeting with the OECD

7 March 2022 

National Skills Council holds extraordinary meeting with the OECD to discuss skills challenges facing Ireland


The National Skills Council is today beginning an extraordinary meeting with the OECD and other key stakeholders to discuss some of the skills challenges facing the country.


The two-day event is the first in a series of structured events this year which will see key stakeholders examine, and contribute to, the ongoing OECD Skills Strategy, which was launched by Minister Simon Harris in Paris last November.

 The project is analysing how well Ireland is equipped to meet current and future skills needs.


Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “Skills policy is an area of enormous importance, informing how people in Ireland live, work, learn and thrive. “Our work with the OECD through the Skills Strategy Project allows for an examination of our Skills Strategy and approach 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 skills, talent and human capital development.”


As part of the OECD Skills Strategy Ireland, the project will examine how responsive the higher education and further education and training systems are to current and future labour market needs.

It will also report on how best to promote a culture of lifelong learning, and how skills can drive innovation.

 Stakeholder engagement and meetings with key partners in the skills ecosystem has driven the agenda of the OECD Skills Strategy project to date.

 However, the OECD would now like to broaden the conversation by launching the first in a series of surveys in which business owners, individuals and community organisations can give their say on the future of skills in Ireland.


Minister Harris said: “It is important that everyone in the skills ecosystem has a chance to be involved with the review which will shape our skills approach for the next decade.  “I encourage people and enterprises around the country to have their say by engaging with the OECD survey.” El Iza Mohamedou, Head of the OECD Centre for Skills, said: “Effective development and use of skills across the life course are vital to future-proof Ireland’s economic and social wellbeing. 

“Over the past few months we have started extensive engagement with various stakeholders in Ireland’s skills ecosystem to examine the challenges and opportunities facing the Irish system - which will frame the approach to our work on the OECD Skills Strategy. We look forward to continuing the discussions in the upcoming months. 

 “From an international perspective, we see that similar skills challenges have arisen across a range of countries, and we look forward to sharing our perspectives and international best practice with Ireland as the OECD Skills Strategy evolves.”


Some of the core challenges examined over the two day session will include:


  • Ireland’s supply of skills and our advantage in the global war for talent,  including  issues around labour shortages and access to a skilled workforce;
  • Lifelong Learning, in particular engagement of vulnerable groups,  and embedding a culture of learning in the workplace;
  • Ensuring Ireland has the best possible, most agile,  responsive and joined up skills ecosystem; and an appropriate balance in the skills system;
  • The importance of partnership approaches, and basing our policy on evidence, insights and data from a range of stakeholders;
  • Access to tertiary education.


The first in the series of OECD Skills surveys can be found here:


OECD Skills Strategies

OECD Skills Strategies provide a strategic and comprehensive approach to assess countries’ skills challenges and opportunities, and build more effective skills systems. The OECD works collaboratively with countries, states and regions to develop policy responses that are tailored to each one’s specific skills challenges and needs.

 The foundation of this approach is the OECD Skills Strategy framework, the components of which are i) developing relevant skills over the life course, ii) using skills effectively in work and in society, and iii) strengthening the governance of the skills system.


OECD Skills Strategy Ireland

The Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science will lead the skills strategy, working across Government via a cross-Departmental project team, and working through the primary skills infrastructures, the National Skills Council and nine Regional Skills Fora.


Areas on which the OECD Skills Strategy will concentrate:

  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.


Phases of engagement

The review will take 15 months to complete and will entail the following four phases:

  1. First Mission: Skills Strategy Seminar   -  Q1 2022
  2. Second Mission: Assessment Workshops  - Q2  - Q3 2022
  3. Third Mission: Recommendations Workshops  - Q3 –Q4 2022
  4. Fourth Mission: Launch and publication of report  - Q1 2023


Public Consultation

As part of their extensive programme of stakeholder engagement the OECD will conduct surveys during 2022 as part of the Scoping, Assessment and Recommendations phases. The first of these surveys is now live: