By Elaine Loughlin, Political Reporter
Increasing the legal age of school leavers, addressing cuts to guidance councillors and providing 50,000 apprenticeships are among promises laid out in a Government strategy this afternoon.
The National Skills Strategy 2025 has set out the Government's commitments to improving and using skills for sustainable economic growth.
Increasing the school leavers age, which is currently 16, is among the key points in the strategy.
A new National Skills Council to oversee research, forecasting and prioritisation of skills needs in the economy will also be established.
Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan has also promised to look at the provision of guidance councillors which have been cut in many schools due to Government cutbacks leaving many students without access to these services in schools.
The report now promises a review of guidance services, tools and careers information for school students and adults to identify options for improvements.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the National Skills Strategy aims to provide an education and training system that is flexible enough to respond to a rapidly changing environment and that can provide the mix of skills needed over the next ten years, and beyond.
“Our commitment to provide 50,000 modern apprenticeship and traineeship places to 2020 is an essential part of our long term economic plan to reach full employment and is something I am determined that we deliver."
Speaking at the launch this afternoon Ms O’Sullivan said: “This new National Skills Strategy sets out the Government's commitment to improving and using skills for sustainable economic growth.
“It outlines how we can develop a well-skilled, adaptable workforce that contributes to, shares in and benefits from opportunities of economic expansion”.
“This strategy will ensure increased access to high quality and relevant education and training and skills development opportunities.
“It will allow people to benefit from workplace learning and experience, and to enable effective participation by all in the economy and society.”
The strategy has been developed around six key objectives and a comprehensive set of actions and measures aimed at improving the development, supply and use of skills over the next ten years.
Under the pans all Transition Year, LCVP and LCA students in schools and full-time students in further education and training and higher education will have to complete work experience and this will be tracked.
Further Education and Training and Higher Education providers will have to produce employability statements for courses.
While there will be further development of the Regional Skills Fora across the country to support increased employer engagement with education and training providers to meet the skills needs of each region.