Education and Training
Linking Education and Training to Employment Project 2007 to 2009.
This project focussed on the experiences of unemployed people and those distant from the labour market in undertaking education and training courses and their links to employment.
This research analysed:
- Unemployed people's experiences of education and training courses;
- The range of options made available and potential links to employment or further education and training;
- Whether participants believed that it was their choice to participate in training and education courses and whether they determined which course they participated on;
- Whether participants believed that these education and training options were being delivered as part of a systematic approach e.g. National Employment Action Plan (NEAP);
- If participants had initiated searches for education and training themselves, and if so:
- Had they been able to find a course they liked?
- Could they access good information and or advice on their options?
- Were they happy with the outcome?
- The extent to which employers are consulted and / or involved in decisions relating to the planning and delivery of state training services for unemployed people;
- Employers' perceptions of the effectiveness of training and education services.
This project was timely, as the Department of Social & Family Affairs had begun the rollout of a new Active Case Management approach as part of their new Social and Economic Participation Programme. At the same time, the Expert Working Group on Future Skills Needs had highlighted the challenges facing Ireland and its goal of building a knowledge based economy. They also noted then that existing education and training policies would give rise to a growing skills gap between the Irish workforce and the sectors where job creation was actively being pursued. While the project began at a time of unprecedented employment in Ireland, the pace and extent of the recession serves to further underline the imperative of linking education and training to employment.
The three main components of this project consisted of a questionnaire, focus groups and a national seminar.
A questionnaire was sent out to all individual members of the INOU to ascertain their experiences of education and training courses and how they accessed those options. This was accompanied by a publicity campaign to raise awareness of the project amongst INOU affiliated organisations and other key stakeholders. The INOU newsletter, Bulletin, and other key elements of the organisation's work were used to inform as wide a range of people as possible of the project and to seek their active support in this research.
Focus Group meetings were held with unemployed people in Limerick, New Ross, Tallaght and Tullamore. INOU staff visited the social welfare office in each of these four locations on at least two signing-on days and spoke with unemployed people about their experiences and invited them to attend focus groups held at a later date in their area. This proved to be very useful as the meetings were well attended.
The national seminar "Getting it Right: Linking Education and Training to Employment" was held in December 2008. The seminar brought together a wide ranging audience including Government Departments, INOU affiliated organisations, employers' organisations training providers, and state agencies with specific remits for education and training provision. The round table aspect of the seminar provided an opportunity for those in attendance to discuss a range of issues including improving the linkages of education and training to employment. The seminar report of the event was published here on the INOU website and is available to download by clicking the image of the report.
The final phase of this project was to develop a paper outlining a series of recommendations stemming from the learning gained through this project. These recommendations encapsulate a wide range of issues that those who participated in this project wished to progress with policy makers and practitioners. The recommendation report was published here on the INOU website and can be downloaded by clicking on the image of the report.