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FET Green Skills Summit in Wexford

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FET Green Skills Summit in Wexford

SOLAS and ETBI host First Ever FET Green Skills Summit in Wexford County Hall, opened by Minister Simon Harris

  • Summit will highlight the vital role of Further Education and Training (FET) in Ireland’s transition to a green economy
  • Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD welcomes focus on green skills across the vibrant FET sector

The inaugural FET Green Skills Summit launched today (23.03.22), in Wexford Council’s County Hall. It is the result of collaboration between SOLAS, ETBI and Waterford Wexford ETB. The Summit was opened by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD.

The Summit includes presentations on Green Skills from industry and FET providers from around Ireland. It will explore the role of FET in meeting the increasing demand for Green Skills in Ireland, representing the cutting edge of industries such as construction, motoring and energy. It will deliver an overview of national and international Green Skills research; showcase dynamic industry practices and future-thinking FET courses that respond to the needs of the emerging “green economy”; and provide an opportunity for discussion from experts in the field.

Speaking at the launch today, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris TD said: “Today is an important step in our response to the challenge of climate change and the targets we have set for ourselves at a national level. For it is a significant challenge and there’s no getting away from that. We have to make sure that we have the right training on offer and that we are attracting people to avail of places. There is no shortage of availability. Attracting people to participate is the challenge we face.

“That’s why the offering developed here in WWETB is so important. It’s fast and flexible. We’re not asking people to take months or even years out of their careers to develop the skills in question. Instead, you have developed a pragmatic solution which means people can be upskilled in a matter of days for the most part and even online in some cases. And as if that wasn’t enough, the courses are free.”

The conference will hear the green economy is an area of opportunities. The key challenge will be upskilling and reskilling for changes to existing roles, while new green jobs will be a smaller subset. Attendees will hear there will be an increased demand for professionals in areas of Renewable Energy, Electric mechanics, and Heat Pump Installer, Domestic Solar PV installer, and Retrofit Engineer.

At today’s Summit, Minister Harris also had the opportunity to meet graduands of Technological University of the Shannon and Waterford Wexford ETB’s ‘Nearly Zero Energy Buildings (NZEB) Train the Trainer’ learners, funded by the Skills to Advance Innovation Through Collaboration Fund.

The programme for the day will include:

  • An overview of national and international green skills research from the Skills and Labour Market Research Unit in SOLAS,
  • A briefing from industry leaders on the green and sustainable business environment and future skills needs to deliver on green commitments,
  • An ETB panel discussion on how best the FET sector can meet the skills needs of the future and support the transition to a green future for Ireland.

Speaking today ahead of the event Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS, remarked: “We have planned this Summit to take a proactive look at the skills needs of industry and to explore how best further education and training can meet these needs. The Climate Action Plan published in 2021 has set ambitious targets for the decarbonisation of our economy and the transition to this new economy will require significant levels of skills across the country in a huge variety of sectors to come to fruition.

“At this Summit, we look forward to presenting on and discussing how the further education and training sector can expand on the work we are already doing to equip people across Ireland with the right skills to contribute to the transition to a greener economy.”

Fiona Maloney, Director of Further Education and Training, ETBI said: “Ireland’s Education & Training Boards are ideally positioned to meet the skills demands of the green economy. We have over 50 green skills programmes delivered across our sector and NZEB Training Centres of Excellence in Waterford & Wexford and Laois & Offaly ETBs, with three more to follow in Limerick & Clare, Cork, and Mayo, Sligo & Leitrim ETBs.

“We will work closely with our SOLAS colleagues to support the implementation of the Green Skills for FET 2021-2030 Roadmap to ensure that our learners and trainees have the appropriate skills to both power Ireland’s green economy and access career opportunities.”

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