ESRI released "Further Education and Training in Ireland: Past, Present and Future" (http://www.esri.ie/publications/latest_publications/view/index.xml?id=3943)
Lots of sharp and interesting findings, including:
- Provision within the sector appears to have grown and national policy does not appear to have played any central role in determining the level, distribution or composition of Irish FET provision. In other words it is free-for-all.
- As a result, there is a substantial amount of variation in terms of …the relative emphasis on meeting labour market needs and countering social exclusion across the sector. In other words, the programmes are not really delivering on skills shortages.
- A substantial proportion of provision within the FET sector does not lead to any formal accreditation. The lack of accreditation is more typical in programmes with a strong community or social inclusion ethos. Which might not be a problem, if real skills are delivered. Alas, this is not the case.
- The distribution of major awards across field of study does not appear to reflect strongly the structure of the vocational labour market. This is evident in the fact that the majority of key stakeholders, interviewed for the study, feel that current FET provision is only aligned ‘to some extent’ with labour market needs.
- From an international perspective, compared to the German, Dutch and Australian systems, Irish FET is much more fragmented and is much less focused around vocational labour market demand. In terms of its composition and focus, Irish FET sector bears close similarities to provision in Scotland.
- Data provision on Irish FET is extremely poor by international standards.
- The reform of provision will require that SOLAS implement a funding model that ensures that poorly performing programmes are no longer financed, with available resources directed towards areas identified as being of significant value on the basis of emerging national or regional information.
The irony of this is that ESRI report comes out some weeks after I wrote about the deficiencies in our training programmes in the Sunday Times http://trueeconomics.blogspot.ie/2014/05/1552014-jobs-employment-lot-done-more.html and months after the OECD report covering the same.
You can read more on the topic of skills, unemployment and training here: http://trueeconomics.blogspot.ie/2014/05/1552014-innovation-employment-growth.html