Major opportunity for businesses to transform their workforce through €1 million Skillnets fund

  • Call for proposals from new groups of enterprises seeking to address challenges through collaboration
  • New pilot networks to be launched in 2018
  • Innovative solutions sought from ambitious businesses across all sectors
  • Over 60 networks already operating under internationally-acclaimed collaborative learning model


03 October 2017: Skillnets, the national agency responsible for the promotion and facilitation of workforce learning, has announced details of a new training fund that will support private sector businesses with their growth and competitiveness agenda by addressing their current and future skills need.

Launching on 03 October, Skillnets is offering up to €1m in funding for the development of new enterprise-led learning networks in 2018. We are looking for applications from new groups of ambitious businesses aiming to address challenges through up-skilling and re-skilling, and to join a dynamic group of over 60 established learning networks. To participate, a group of businesses from the same sector or region can collectively apply to establish a Skillnets learning network, and draw down funding support for the development and delivery of training. A competitive application process, the fund is open to applications from industry federations, industry bodies or enterprise groups.

Skillnets operates under a joint investment model whereby learning networks can apply to receive up to 50 percent of the cost of training from Skillnets, and the remainder of costs are funded in matching contributions from participating businesses in the learning network. The approach has received international recognition as a model of best practice from the OECD, amongst others.

In 2017, Skillnets facilitated the establishment of five new learning networks in medtech, design, hospitality, food and tourism – sectors identified by the Expert Group of Future Skills (EGFSN) as having specific skills needs and the capacity to create new jobs.

Launching the Call, Skillnets Chairman, Brendan McGinty stated “Creating the environment for businesses to up-skill is essential for our competitiveness and growth. Through this new fund, Skillnets is working with businesses across all sectors to ensure they have the support they need so they can be their best. The Skillnets model provides the flexibility and nimbleness that firms need to respond to ever-changing skill demands, but in a way that is collaborative and highly networked”.

Paul Healy, CEO Skillnets said “We want to help propel Irish business even further – learning and development today has become a priority if a business is to compete and thrive. Up-skilling those in employment and creating a vigorous talent base enhances productivity and innovation. By making up to €1m in funding available for the development of new enterprise-led learning networks in 2018, Skillnets is helping more businesses in Ireland to develop a talent pipeline.”

The fund will close for applications at 5pm on Wednesday 23 November 2017.

For networks seeking to apply for funding, full details are available at or to learn more about Skillnets Statement of Strategy, please click here

Skillnets is funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills.