Minister Harris opens Green Skills Summit focusing on Ireland’s transition to a green economy

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has opened the first-ever FET Green Skills Summit on Wednesday 23rd of March, 2022.  

The summit was held in Wexford County Hall by SOLAS, ETBI and Waterford Wexford ETB (Education and Training Board).  

Speaking at the event, Minister Harris said:  

“Today is an important step in our response to the challenge of climate change and the targets we have set for ourselves at a national level. 


“For it is a significant challenge and there is no getting away from that. 


“We must make sure that we have the right training on offer and that we are attracting people to avail of places. 


“There is no shortage of availability. Attracting people to participate is the challenge we face. 


“That is why the offering developed here in WWETB is so important. It is fast and flexible. We are not asking people to take months or even years out of their careers to develop the skills in question. 


“Instead, you have developed a pragmatic solution which means people can be upskilled in a matter of days for the most part and even online in some cases. And as if that weren’t enough, the courses are free.” 

The conference discussed that the green economy is an area of opportunity. The key challenge will be upskilling and reskilling for changes to existing roles, while new green jobs will be a smaller subset.  

The conference heard that there will be an increased demand for professionals in areas of renewable Energy, Electric mechanics, and Heat Pump Installer, Domestic Solar PV installer, and Retrofit Engineer.  

Tom Grady, Chief Executive MSLETB (Mayo Sligo Leitrim Education and Training Board) stated:

“We in Mayo, Sligo and Leitrim Education & Training Board are well-positioned to meet the skills demands of the green economy and support our learners and trainees to access real career opportunities.” 

MSLETB offers the following programmes SMART Driving, NZEB and Retrofit. 

MSLETB worked in collaboration with WWETB and with the Irish Road Haulage Association (IRHA) to develop the SMART Driving programme.  Tom Grady Chief Executive MSLETB observed that this programme benefits employers & employees and that: 

“The course supports the Government’s Future Jobs Ireland Programme 2020 objectives by helping the Irish haulage industry to transition to a low carbon economy, upskilling drivers in driving technology, as well as improving SME and workforce productivity”. 

As part of the national implementation plan, A purpose-built facility is being developed by MSLETB. This facility will provide the required number of retrofit training places to meet the level demand anticipated in the West and Northwest. 

Tom Grady Chief Executive MSLETB stated that:  

 “The MSLETB “Future Skills” Training Centre will provide upskilling opportunities for the existing built environment workforce and reskilling opportunities for others seeking careers in the growing retrofitting sector.” 

Additionally, MSLETB is positioning to meet the skills demands of the green economy in support of employers and our learners to address the challenges of the climate action plan and to promote real career opportunities in this area by providing programmes including Sustainability Training for all FET Learners and Green Skills. 

MSLETB is one of the collaborating partners that developed the Level 4 Micro-Credential in sustainability. MSLETB will be delivering the Sustainability Training for all FET Learners programme across all our FET programmes in the second half of 2022.  

MSLETB will be seeking differential validation to deliver the Level 5 Micro-Credential in Environmental Sustainability in the Workplace as part of our “Skills to Advance” offerings. This is in addition to the 50 Shades Greener Initiative which is being delivered to the Hospitality Sector throughout our region in 2022.  

Mr Paul Jackman, Vice President of the IRHA,  

“This programme will help drivers to get a better understanding of their modern working environment, vehicles and equipment thus helping drivers to drive and work in a safe and compliant manner, while using less fuel, thereby reducing both cost and emissions”.  

Fiona Maloney, Director of Further Education and Training at ETBI said:  

“Ireland’s Education & 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 & Clare, Cork, and Mayo, Sligo & 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.”  


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