- Lifestyle & Sports
- 26 Nov 20
Our world has been turned upside down over the past 12 months – to the extent that whole industries are under threat as a result of Covid-19. It is just another reflection of the importance of being open to change in your work and your career. Which is why so many people are turning to the Skills Connect programme, run by Skillnet Ireland.
In the ongoing conversation about living with COVID-19, there has been a shift to discussing future career opportunities for people in sectors that have been drastically impacted by the virus.
For a start, more people than ever are working from home. There are also industries – such as hospitality – that have been disrupted so badly that no one knows for sure what the future holds. The same applies to music, live events, conferences, festivals, awards ceremonies, and so on – and to the highly skilled people who supply all of the services which events of real scale require.
So what does the future hold? The truth is that, to some extent at least, that is in the hands of businesses and skilled workers. Because in a period of enormous and rapid adjustment and change, new opportunities are bound to emerge. The challenge is: will we be ready to take full advantage of them?
That’s where Skillnet Ireland come in with their new initiative called Skills Connect. The programme offers a suite of free virtual tailored upskilling and training solutions with industry-based work placements that are aimed at supporting people to quickly re-enter the workforce in their sector, or to access job opportunities in new sectors through innovative conversion courses.
The ambition of Skills Connect is to facilitate the rapid upskilling and reskilling of people whose careers have been drastically impacted by COVID-19.“We have 24 Skillnet Networks scheduled to deliver activation programmes over the weeks and months ahead,” says Skillnet Ireland Development Advisor Caoimhe O’Donnell. “The core objectives of Skills Connect are to support anyone who has been impacted in particular sectors, because of COVID. We’re working to provide, and advance, career opportunities for all of the participants that attend the programmes.”
One of the benefits of Skills Connect is that participants in the programme will receive a work placement on completion.
“The value for the participant is that they build a relationship with a particular employer, within that sector,” O’Donnell notes.
100% funded by the Government’s July stimulus package, Skills Connect is available at no cost to the participant.
“The type of programmes that are being delivered will provide different pathways to get people into their chosen sector, through rapidly developed and compact training programmes,” says Dave Flynn, Skillnet Ireland’s Executive Director.
“It’s providing not just training,” he adds, “but a significant amount of industry accreditation and opportunities within companies. It’s a short, sharp intervention – but people will have really industry-relevant skillsets coming out of the programme.”
Skills Connect is about providing a much-needed lifeline. But it is also about looking to the future of the Irish workforce.
“It’s about trying to help people,” says O’Donnell, “redeploy transferrable skills, or gain new skills, that would help them pivot into a completely different sector, where there are job opportunities and growth.”
Both Dave Flynn and Caoimhe O’Donnell also stress that while Skills Connect might be a re-skilling programme, the wide-reaching initiative ultimately gives choice back to participants.
“It really comes back to what the particular person is interested in,” explains O’Donnell.
“The initiative is built around matching training to employment opportunities,” adds Flynn. “It offers individuals the opportunity to rapidly develop new skills, build confidence and access valuable on-the-job training by participating in programmes designed by Skillnet Networks around the country.”
The first phase of Skills Connect will support around 2,000 people, but Skillnet Ireland are planning to increase those numbers in 2021.
To find out more about the Skills Connect initiative, and the pipeline of programmes being offered in 2020 visit www.skillnetireland.ie.