Skillnet Ireland welcomes significant budget increase of 29% to support workforce skills development

  • Clear recognition of Skillnet Ireland and the value of skills development of the Irish workforce
  • 29% in additional funding will help Irish companies prepare for competitive challenges in 2019 including Brexit
  • Government’s prioritisation of effective enterprise-led upskilling
  • Increase from National Training Fund will facilitate the Irish workforce to adapt to the changing world of work and technology

Skillnet Ireland (, the national agency responsible for the promotion and facilitation of workforce learning, welcomed the increase of €6.3m announced in Budget 2019. This represents a 29% increase in National Training Fund (NTF) allocation to Skillnet Ireland to support private sector businesses, and small firms in particular, with their upskilling and talent strategies in 2019.

The Government has placed a clear emphasis on making the NTF more responsive to a rapidly changing world of work.  Reforms have included a comprehensive review of the NTF and an increased focus on enterprise-led programmes such as those facilitated through Skillnet Ireland.

Commenting on the Skillnet Ireland increased funding for workforce learning and development Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D. said,

“Budget 2019 will help us make significant progress on our journey to becoming the best education and training service in Europe by 2026. Education is key to our ability to adapt successfully during a period of very rapid change and considerable new challenges. This Budget is making the investments we need to ensure we equip Irish talent with the capacity to shape their future.”

Speaking after the Budget 2019 announcement Skillnet Ireland Chairperson, Brendan McGinty said

“We welcome this additional €6.3m allocation for 2019, which clearly signals Government’s commitment and prioritisation of effective enterprise-led upskilling and giving employers a greater voice in how the NTF is directed. Independent evaluations continually demonstrate that the Skillnet Ireland decentralised model generates highly specialised knowledge on employment and training related issues, resulting in greater alignment between labour market needs and the supply of skills.

As an organisation, Skillnet Ireland provides strong leadership in shaping the future of workforce development by working with enterprise to meet their skill requirements and helping those in work to progress, develop and upskill for the future.”

Skillnet Ireland training is succeeding in equipping Ireland’s workforce with the vital skills to meet the global competitiveness challenges of today and in the future. The increase underscores the central role that Skillnet Ireland is playing in promoting and facilitating industry led training and innovative new programme development.

Skillnet Ireland works with over 50 industry representative groups in sectors spanning technology, hospitality, retail, agri-business, life sciences, finance, food and drink, and advanced manufacturing. The organisation also plays an important role is supporting regional skills development.

According to Paul Healy, Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive: The Government’s continued recognition and support for the role Skillnet Ireland plays in the Irish economy is again reflected in this latest Budget, which represents a total increase of 54% in our funding allocation over the past 24 months. These increases allow us to further extend our reach and to provide greater levels of support to sectoral and regional priorities set out under national workforce policy.

Looking to the future, there are significant challenges facing our economy such as technological disruption and Brexit that our workforce must be ready for. Upskilling is a vital component in preparing for the complex challenges that lie ahead.”

Skillnet Ireland’s 60+ nationwide learning networks supports 15,000 companies and 50,000 trainees each year. To learn more about Skillnet Ireland and how you can become a network member, please visit



More about Skillnet Ireland

Skillnet Ireland is the national agency responsible for the promotion and facilitation of workforce learning in Ireland. Skillnet Ireland funds over 50 industry representative groups, supporting over 15,000 companies and 50,000 trainees annually.

Skillnet Ireland operates under a joint investment model, part-funded by participating businesses in one of our 60+ enterprise learning networks. Each enterprise network funded by Skillnet Ireland is a cluster of companies from the same sector or geographical location. This approach has received international recognition as a model of best practice from the OECD and ILO, amongst others.

Skillnet Ireland is funded from the National Training Fund (NTF) through the Department of Education and Skills (DES).