Skillnets builds capacity for future skills in MedTech (Internet of Medical Things), Design, Hospitality and Logistics

Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton TD, joins Skillnets Chairman Brendan McGinty and Chief Executive Paul Healy for official launch of Skillnets’ new networks.

Skillnets, the national enterprise-led agency with responsibility for the promotion and facilitation of training networks, launched four new networks today to address the emerging skills needs in the MedTech, Design, Hospitality, and Freight and Logistics sectors. In addition, funding for more new Skillnets networks in 2017 was announced.

Skillnets have a track record in developing innovative learning networks and currently support over 60 groups of private enterprises, particularly SMEs, in sectors and regions across the country. Skillnets work with these networks to address emerging skills needs, through bespoke programmes and qualifications across sectors ranging from retail, to agri-business, ICT, engineering, pharma, medtech, hospitality and construction related disciplines.

According to Brendan McGinty, Skillnets Chairman: “Investment at enterprise level in the skills of employees can help businesses to remain competitive, and can create significant additional value such as improved productivity and increased employee engagement. Our model is embedded in enterprise and we are flexible in our approach to enterprise-led training. We can move quickly to address skill needs across Irish businesses and respond to these ever-changing demands. We are delighted to launch these four new networks and would encourage other groups to engage with Skillnets.” 

Speaking today (03.03.17) at the launch of Skillnets’ new networks, Paul Healy, Chief Executive, Skillnets said: “Establishing these four new networks is a direct response to labour market policy and will assist in addressing recommendations made by the Government’s Expert Group on Future Skill Needs. The new networks are well placed to drive greater levels of training and management development within the Medtech, Design, Hospitality and Freight and Logistics sectors. By facilitating close industry collaboration with training providers and the higher education sector, Skillnets are helping to address the specific skills gaps that employers in these sectors are experiencing.”

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, TD said: “Ensuring Ireland has the quality and quantity of skills needed for businesses to grow is a key element of the Government’s economic and employment strategy. Up-skilling within SMEs must be accelerated right across every sector and region if we are to deliver our jobs growth target of creating 200,000 additional jobs by 2020. The new networks launched today in the Medtech, Design, Hospitality and Freight and Logistics sectors are closely aligned with labour market policy and will facilitate the strengthening of the skills base in these sectors.”

According to Dr. Áine Fox, Senior Executive of Irish MedTech Association at IBEC and Promoter of Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) Skillnet: “The IoMT Skillnet will address the skills needs arising from the convergence of medical technologies, pharmaceuticals, information technology and software within the new field of connected health. Revolutionary changes in the commercial model used by healthcare systems globally through the move to value-based healthcare – means Ireland needs to develop a world class medtech hub to maximise emerging job opportunities. For this to happen the right skills are critical. We need to build skills in the areas of medical software, software validation, cyber security, interoperability engineering and connected health leadership to keep pace with this change. IoMT Skillnet will facilitate companies within this sector, including SMEs, to address these current and future skills.” IoMT Skillnet also aims to address recommendations from the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs report on the Bio-pharma Industry published in 2016.

Design Enterprise Skillnet, promoted by the Institute of Designers in Ireland, plans to address the demand for new skills in the design business sector, with a focus on growth areas in both design-intensive and non-design-intensive sectors. At the launch Denise O’Connor, Managing Director of Optimise Design explained “Design Enterprise Skillnet aims to support the skills base in the design business sector, especially in growth areas such as user experience (UX), digital design and service design, to strengthen competitiveness in a very dynamic marketplace. Ongoing up-skilling is a requirement for design businesses to scale and export.”

Restaurant and Hospitality Skillnet, promoted by the Restaurants Association of Ireland, will support restaurants and catering companies to help drive employment growth, talent attraction and retention in the hospitality sector, with a particular focus on career progression for those at lower skilled levels.

CILT Skillnet, promoted by the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport seeks to grow the skill base in the international trade and domestic freight transportation sectors.  CILT Skillnet will deliver managerial and technical up-skilling in supply chain management, optimising vehicle utilisation and finance for transport operators.

Each of these new networks aim to address recommendations from recent Expert Group on Future Skills Needs reports on the relevant sectors.

Funding for Additional New Networks

At today’s launch Skillnets also gave details of funding to support the establishment of new enterprise-led networks. Speaking about this funding Paul Healy, Skillnets Chief Executive said: “With the Irish economy now in a growth phase, an increasing number of businesses are looking to expand. Scaling a business is usually predicated on a supply of the necessary skills and talent. The four new networks launched today demonstrate the growing demand among businesses for innovative solutions to address skills shortages in the workplace. Skillnets is pleased to announce another new fund for training networks, so that more businesses that want to grow can be supported with workforce development in 2017.”

A group of businesses from the same sector or region can collectively apply to establish a Skillnets training network. This current funding call is also open to applications from industry federations, industry bodies or enterprise groups. The closing date for this new funding call is Monday April 3rd. A second funding call is planned for later in the year with a closing date of October 3rd.

For groups of businesses interested in developing a new training network and applying for the training fund, full details are available on or direct contact can be made with a member of the Skillnets team: / 01-2079630.