Updates from April 2023 Steering Group meeting
The ability to build skills that are relevant to the economy, and to offer inclusive provision that supports citizenship and sustains communities, are two core attributes of FET, and a strong vision for their further development over the next five years has been set out. Too often these attributes have been viewed as relating to separate parts of the system, with different FET services focused on one or the other, delivering on different national policy objectives. However, if a central goal for FET is sustainable job creation, this can only be secured by a seamless service where learners are equipped with all of the knowledge, support, and the core and technical skills that will allow them to lead fulfilled lives, continually learn, self-develop, and build successful careers. FET offers great opportunities for learners of all backgrounds and abilities, but a complex programme structure and lack of clarity about how its offerings link together to help a person progress can make it seem quite inaccessible to those considering it as an option. FET must be simplified by offering clear pathways into FET, within FET and from FET, encouraging and facilitating ongoing engagement at all stages of people’s lives and careers.
The Facilitating Pathways Implementation Advisory Group will bring all key stakeholders around the table with a role in driving strategy delivery within this pillar to focus on implementation of the Facilitating Pathways action plan.
FET via CAO Pilot: Workshop held in the Department of Education on 24th February of Oversight Group for the advancement of a single portal for career guidance and skills information. Next meeting scheduled for 28th April to discuss outcomes and findings.
As of 19th April, CAO/Options referrals to fetchcourses.ie stands at 32,539 and referrals to apprenticeship stands at 50,078.
A wide range of communications activities have taken place so far this year, including - Significant coverage on radio and press for apprenticeships, progression pathways from FET into higher education and the new Safepass renewals system. Several information and recruitmentevents for apprentices have also been held.
Engagement with contracted independent consultants for the evaluation of Specialist Training Provision, Back To Education Initiative and Levels 3-4 has advised that all evaluations will be completed in Q2/Q3 of this year.
The recently established National Tertiary Office is work with FET and HE partners to progress the 14 pilot tertiary education programmes which will be open for applications in July. The Director of the NTO will also join the Creating Pathways Advisory Group.
SOLAS ran workshops the Institute of Guidance Counsellors Conference in Sligo in March to promote FET and apprenticeship options.
SOLAS and other FET providers continue to input into the NCCA's senior cycle redevelopment.