Months of research, analysis and debate came together in the Anner Hotel, Thurles on Thursday evening, with the official launch by the LEO and ETB of their training and skills gap report.
The report, entitled “Analysis of the Education, Training and Business Support Needs of Companies in County Tipperary” provided a detailed review of employee training and education gaps in the County. The event was attended by over 100 local businesses and agency representatives.
The report was commissioned jointly by the Tipperary Local Enterprise Office and the Tipperary Education & Training Board.
The appointed research agency, Marla Communications, engaged directly with 110 Tipperary companies to identify their challenges, concerns and gaps in the areas of employee training, skills and education.
The research focused mainly on companies with over 10 employees, and spanned a wide spectrum of business sectors including manufacturing, tourism, retail and customer services.
Officially launching the report, Roger Kennedy, Leas Cathaoirleach of Tipperary County Council, applauded the local agencies for their initiative in taking this research forward, highlighting the value the insights now bring to all employers and agencies in the County; speaking of access to available and skilled employees, he added “Tipperary has a working population of 700,000 within an hour’s commute, and we are within an hour of nine leading 3rd level colleges. Continuous monitoring of training and development needs is essential to ensure we have an adequate supply of skilled people to meet present and future needs”.
Councillor John Hogan, Chairperson of Tipperary Education and Training Board, acted as Master of Ceremonies on the night, introducing those directly involved in the research initiative, including Rita Guinan, Head of Enterprise at the LEO, Eileen Condon, Director of Further Education and Training and Sheila Gallogly, Managing Director of Márla Communications.
Rita Guinan highlighted the timely nature of the report, having had direct contact with employers on their skills shortage issue in recent months.
Eileen Condon spoke of current and future employment trends and of particular further education and training programmes in Tipperary ETB that have strong employment outcomes, namely Post Leaving Certificate Programmes, Apprenticeships, VTOS courses and the Skills for Work programme that upskills the employed. She also referred to the growing demand for apprenticeships in Irish industry, and the opportunities for women in traditional craft apprentices.
Post the panel presentations, a lively round table discussion followed, with businesses from all sectors sharing their views on how to take the ‘next step’.
All attendees agreed with the report recommendation to set up an Employers Forum to allow for the sharing of insights, exchanging of ideas and exploring the training and upskilling requirements of the businesses in the County.
Further details in relation to the Forum will be made available by Tipperary County Council and ETB over the coming weeks.