25 May 2021

 Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has met with the National Skills Council to discuss a new Skills Pact between Government and businesses in the aftermath of COVID-19.

The meeting discussed remote working and how it can act as a potential driver for balanced regional development, if the skills needed to do this are optimised. Joost Korte, European Commission Director-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, and Joanne Morrissey, HR Director and Kevin Marshall, Head of Education for Microsoft gave presentations.

Minister of State, Anne Rabbitte welcomed the news:

Within Galway East, I am working behind the scenes around the enhancement of digital skills earlier in our education eco -system, including introducing remote certification earlier in the education cycle. We have a real opportunity to ‘reverse engineer’ how we nurture, develop and match our young people to their future education needs and career paths.

We have a real opportunity to ‘reverse engineer’ how we nurture, develop and match our young people to their future education needs and career paths.  The current pandemic is accelerating trends that were already shaping the future of a market, which is projected to reach $10 trillion by 2030, mainly fuelled by population growth in developing regions and technology advancements for re-skilling and up-skilling in developed economies.  We need to ensure we are aligned to these accelerating trends in shaping the future of our young population.

 Speaking after the meeting, Minister Harris said:

The meeting today focused on the challenges many businesses across the country are facing as we begin to reopen the economy, such as those related to increased digitalisation and remote working.

 The meeting also discussed the development of a new Skills Pact between Government and businesses.

 Minister Harris said:

With great challenges, opportunities follow and so today, the Skills Council began our work on a new Skills Pact which will be key to rebuilding our economy and society. It is clear that COVID-19 has accelerated changes in how we work. The Skills Council is ready to play its part in building a sustainable economy which includes the right people with the right skills in the right jobs. It is particularly important to protect employment through skills and training interventions to support workers as their jobs are re-shaped.

We are significantly investing in skills across Government but we must be sure we are adapting to the needs of businesses and learners.

 Having the right approach to skills in the workplace is what will underpin performance, productivity, profits, outcomes, human capability and crucially people’s sense of purpose and wellbeing.