Donegal ETB is the largest education and training provider in Donegal, providing a broad range of education and training services to around 25,000 students and learners on an annual basis.
They are the leading provider of Further Education and Training (FET) in the county, providing a wide range of full and part-time courses, adult learner guidance, apprenticeships, basic education, community education support, Youthreach (early school leavers) and services for employers.
Supports for SMEs in the Blue Economy:
During our research Ciaran O’Brien, Director of Further Education at Donegal ETB, outlined how they have a range of different training courses for the hospitality/tourism sector.
Ciaran believes that because of the difficulties facing the sector since the outset of the pandemic in 2020 it has been difficult for SMEs to deal with the growing demand.
Donegal ETB also play a part in co-ordinating the government’s ‘Skills to advance’ initiative which, provides upskilling and reskilling opportunities to employees in jobs undergoing change and to those currently employed in vulnerable sectors.
Under this initiative, the ETB offer targeted support for more vulnerable groups in the workplace, particularly those with lower-level skills who need more opportunities to advance in their working lives.
Evidence of Collaboration:
They collaborate with employers on the ground to provide the best training courses at the most suitable/convenient times. They offer certified qualification in hospitality, as well as front of house skills and catering support.
Supports are also available for SMEs who need some assistance to invest in and develop their workforce under the ‘skills for work’ initiative. This is another national programme, which is funded by the Government of Ireland, to deliver training courses for full or part-time employees.
Again, this is targeted a low skilled worker who may not have the same access to training courses.
Mr. O’Brien explained that the lower-level courses such as barista training have been very popular amongst people working in the hospitality sector. Courses are often offered on a part-time/evening basis to work around the working schedule of many of these employees.