Jennifer Fitzpatrick

Lifelong Learning is Key to Business Growth


Thousands more businesses are prioritising staff training and retention as they compete for the talent needed to expand their enterprise. That’s the message from Skillnets - the national agency responsible for funding and supporting training networks - as it launched its Annual Report for 2015. 

Figures from the report reveal that the number of businesses accessing Skillnets supported training grew by 18% in 2015, with over 12,800 businesses investing in their staff across a range of sectors. Over 321,000 training days were delivered during 2015 through 5,842 training courses. Eighty-five percent of the businesses that benefited from investment in training through Skillnets in 2015 were SMEs with 250 staff or under.

Skillnets Chairman, Brendan McGinty

According to Skillnets Chairman, Brendan McGinty, businesses are battling for talent in a competitive marketplace, resulting inmany looking inwards to develop existing resources to meet their growth objectives". Behind the country’s pattern of economic growth during 2015, thousands of Irish and foreign-owned businesses have expanded to meet increased demand by investing in their workforce. A renewed focus on lifelong learning is also fast becoming a priority for employers as a key tool for retaining staff.

During 2015, Skillnets member businesses invested €11.7m towards programmes, with Skillnets investing a further €13.9m, totalling €25.6m investment in training for enterprise. By investing in subsidised training through Skillnets and developing their people, employers can harness the power of their existing internal resources to improve both the capability and competiveness of the organisation.” 

Skillnets CEO Paul Healy further added: “For businesses, it’s not just about investing in workforce training alone, the quality and impact of the learning experience is critical for adding maximum long-term value. Undertaking detailed training needs analysis, forecasting market trends and projecting future skills requirements are all core elements of the Skillnet proposition. Ninety percent of participating businesses surveyed recently by independent consultants Indecon reported that the design of Skillnets training was highly relevant to their business development needs.” Alison-Egan-Training-and-Certification-Manager-SureSkills

SureSkills Training & Certification manager, Alison Egan said: “Our long standing relationships with the Skillnets has put us in a position to better serve businesses throughout Ireland. The importance of continued learning is becoming ever more present in a digital world and it is these types of relationships that will ultimately benefit employees and their organisations"

In addition, Skillnets’ ManagementWorks programme, which offers management development training and mentoring specifically designed to support the SME sector, increased the number of training days delivered to business owners and managers by 20% during 2015. A recent independent evaluation indicated that half of those (50%) who had participated in ManagementWorks training reported it had contributed to increased business turnover. Eighty-two percent of those surveyed reported that ManagementWorks training had increased their competitiveness.

Chat to one of our Learning Consultants today about how your business can benefit from our Skillnets partnership


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