‘Skills must be seen as investment at centre’
Minister Harris, EU Commissioner Nicolas Schmit, Emer Higgins TD, chatting with Youthreach students

‘Skills must be seen as investment at centre’

MINISTER Simon Harris met with EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, at Clondalkin Youthreach Centre last week to discuss Ireland’s approach to the skills challenges facing the country and the European Union.

Minister Harris and Nicolas Schmit met on Thursday, March 3, to discuss the challenges including digital literacy challenges and access to lifelong learning opportunities.

Clondalkin Youthreach Centre, which is co-funded by the Government of Ireland and the European Social Fund, is part of a national programme of second-chance education and training. It aims to provide early school-leavers with the knowledge, skills and confidence required to participate fully in society and progress to further education, training and employment. It provides a range of educational programmes in a positive, supportive and inclusive environment.

Speaking at Clondalkin Youthreach Centre, Minister Harris said: “Skills must be seen as an investment, at the centre of Ireland’s wider enterprise and innovation approach. Ireland has a long-standing partnership approach, with enterprise and the education and training system, ensuring a robust skills ecosystem. We know that skills and talent is one of the key challenges facing us.

“Under the EU Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan, we have committed to a target of 64% of working-age adults participating in training each year by 2030. We need to do better at learning through our whole lifecycle, and particularly, we need to do better at enabling those furthest behind or outside of lifelong learning.”

Commissioner Schmit added: “I was honoured to join Minister Harris for a tour of the Clondalkin YouthReach Centre which is co-funded by the EU. YouthReach has helped countless young people in Ireland who didn’t have any qualifications to develop their skills – both academic and social – and progress to further education or employment.”

The minister updated the commissioner on the recently launched Harnessing Digital strategy and welcomed the EU’s 2022 Structured Dialogue on Digital Education and Skills.

The minister added: “Digital skills are transversal skills and are often the avenue to accessing other transversal skills. Improving the proportion of the population with basic digital skills is intrinsically linked to improving participation in lifelong learning. Digitalisation will impact all roles, occupations and sectors.”

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