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Home » Education » Opportunities available for Ireland’s workforce through green skills

Dr Fiona Maloney

Director of Further Education and Training Support Services, ETBI

The rapid advancement of the green skills technologies is changing how we live, work and educate.

The national network of 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) is leading the future of further education and training. Starting at school level all the way through our academic and working lives, they future proof those already in employment through the greening of skills. They also provide opportunities for upskilling and reskilling existing and future workers.

Meeting the skills demand

Provision is comprehensive for those already employed or hoping to become employed in one of the many industries within the green economy with a broad range of programmes available at all levels and across multiple locations. 

At the Further Education and Training Green Skills Summit on March 23rd, Dr Fiona Maloney, Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI) Director of Further Education and Training Support Services confirmed: “Ireland’s Education and Training Boards are ideally positioned to meet the skills demands of the green economy. We have over 50 green skills programmes delivered across our sector and NZEB Training Centres of Excellence in Waterford & Wexford and Laois & Offaly ETBs, with three more to follow in Limerick and Clare, Cork and Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim ETBs.

“We will work closely with our SOLAS colleagues to support the implementation of the Green Skills for FET 2021-2030 Roadmap to ensure that our learners and trainees have the appropriate skills to both power Ireland’s green economy and access career opportunities.”

Working towards climate goals

ETBs have a pivotal role to play as Ireland works towards its climate goals. To support these goals and future proof our education strategy they have developed a comprehensive suite of programmes. These will ensure the sector is well positioned to be responsive to change and embrace the opportunities presented by green skills technology.

The programmes are suited to both school leavers who want to take up full time education or those who are already employed and want to upskill on a short course or modular bases.

Implementing future strategy

The National Further Education and Training (FET) Strategy 2020-2024 calls for the modernisation of construction skills, a national roll-out of nearly zero energy buildings (NZEB) construction skills centres and a ramping up of programme development across all green skills areas.

The updating of curricula across all relevant FET programmes and apprenticeships includes a sustainable development focus with NZEB Training Centres of Excellence in Waterford & Wexford and Laois & Offaly ETBs, with three more to follow in City of Dublin, Limerick & Clare, Cork and Mayo, Sligo & Leitrim.

NZEB is a building that has a very high energy performance. The nearly zero or very low amount of energy required should be covered to a very significant extent by energy from renewable sources. Also on offer is the newly launched Wind Turbine Maintenance Technician Apprenticeship offered by Kerry ETB, which is an additional example of the high-level sustainable development provision on offer in FET.

Linking education and green skills

In addition to all the green skills technology courses ETBs have to offer, they also incorporate green skills into most other programme areas. On May 16th, Wexford Waterford ETB will be representing the sector at the French Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport workshop entitled: “Link between vocational education and training and the green transition” as part of European Vocational Skills week in Paris.

Building on this successful Anglo-Franco relationship, further collaborative projects between the French Embassy in Ireland, the ETBs and the Campus of trades of Normandie within the blue and green economy are underway. All of which offer great potential for ETB learners in this area.

ETBs are civic anchors in their communities and are at the forefront in driving forward a learning revolution, with learners and teachers adapting to a more immersive, customisable and evolving learning environment. Ultimately, they are improving learner outcomes by enhancing their sustainability and resilience.

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