Local Minister Alan Kelly has welcomed the announcement that a new further education and training authority called SOLAS (Seirbhísí Oideachais Leanúnaigh agus Scileanna) is to be established. The new authority will operate under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills. SOLAS will co-ordinate and fund the wide range of training and further education programmes around the country.
“This agency is replacing that of FÁS and will identify skill gaps in the market that are essential to the future of Ireland’s labour market. In accordance with the National Skills Strategy, which highlights key areas of training and development that are needed, this agency will provide jobseekers and others with practical further education” stated the Minister.
“It is proposed that this authority will take a dynamic, person-centered approach to the problem of training and expertise that has been left in the wake of the FÁS debacle. It is expected that it will facilitate essential new skills that are vital to the promotion of Ireland as a 21st century employer”.
The Implementation Group, which has consulted with all the major stakeholders such as FÁS, the VEC’s and The Department of Education and Skills amongst others, is due to present an Action Plan to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Recovery and Jobs in the autumn.
“It is envisaged that those on the Live register will be referred to practical, further education training programmes that have real potential for job opportunities and career prospects in the emerging technological workforce and that there will be greater inter-departmental alignment between this agency and the Department of Social Protection”
Participants on current FÁS and further education courses will not be affected by the establishment of SOLAS and will continue their courses under the new authority, he added.