• Cyril McAree

Dublin SME’s Engage For Skills And Growth

Over 70 attendees gathered in Wood Quay venue for an event organised by Dublin Regional Skills Forum (DRSF) in collaboration with the Local Enterprise Offices that brought together SME businesses and education providers (FE & HE) to directly support business for skills and growth. The event MC was Eoin Costello – Digital Connector @ Digital Dun Laoghaire.

Left to Right – Natasha Kinsella, Regional Skills Forum Manager Dublin, Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D., Colm Ward representing the Local Enterprise Offices, Dublin and Siobhan Kinsella, Chair Dublin Regional Skills Forum.

The event showcased SME businesses the potential of their engagement with educational providers (FE & HE) that embeds skills and growth. There are significant issues to address in supporting SMEs to engage in training and education: creating an appetite amongst small firms for upskilling, the challenge of engaging with education and training providers and cost. In addition embedding a culture of lifelong learning within SMEs in Ireland remains a considerable challenge that will require a deep and sustained effort.

This event from DRSF partners allows the opportunity of engagement address such challenges for SME’s while developing strategic connections within the Dublin region specifically. The result of such connections is clearly illustrated in developing capabilities of such SME’s enhanced through skills development.

It is also imperative however that all employers and particularly the SME sector engage with educational providers in providing work placement opportunities for their students which in turn will provide the companies with opportunities to engage with talented individuals and prospective employees and gain exposure to potentially innovative and entrepreneurial ideas. As expansion demand arises from continued growth in economic activity, it also important to ensure that an adequate supply of skills is also available to support it. It is estimated that, in the Dublin region, growth will result in an additional 15,000 persons in employment annually.

We were delighted to have as our Key note address, Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D. On speaking at the event the Minister noted: “I have set the ambition to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe within a decade. Key to delivering on this ambition is strengthening regional development. The work of each of the nine Regional Skills Fora is already having a tangible impact in each of the regions by bringing together key stakeholders at a local level to identify existing and emerging specific skills needs and develop swift responses to these skills needs. Events such as today’s “Skills for Growth Conference” organized by the Dublin Fora and the Dublin Local Enterprise Office is an excellent example of structured collaboration between enterprise, employers and the education and training system that will help each better understand each other and will lead to better education services and training programmes” .

Siobhan Kinsella, Chair Dublin Regional Skills noted: “Through supporting a dialogue between the key stakeholders, such an event can, not only support improved stakeholder interaction and by extension, enhance skills development and interorganisational engagement within the region, but also start to address Dublin Forum Skills sustainability. Such activity also delivers on actions as set out within the national skills strategy and actions plan for Jobs Dublin. ”

Colm Ward, representing the Local Enterprise Offices noted: “We are delighted to collaborate with DRSF in this event which embeds our mission of promoting entrepreneurship, fostering business start-ups and develop existing micro and small businesses to drive job creation and to provide accessible high quality supports for your Business ideas. Connections made through events such as this allows innovative ways to engage that supports business potential.”

SME case studies showcased as part of the event included: SonArc Innovations - Paul Gilligan, Founder / Woodies - David Nally, Learning & Development Manager / Accountancy Firm Quinlan - Eilis Quinlan Founder / Klyant Software - John Gilmartin CEO / Dublin Aerospace Ltd - Brendan Murphy, Head of Training / Catalyst Market Research - Dan McGuinness, Director.

The Regional Skills Forum is a Department of Education & Skills initiative bringing employers and education and training providers together to collaboratively develop skills across the Dublin Region.

A Collaboration of Partners managed by Natasha Kinsella RSFM within this Dublin Regional Skills Forum includes:

Educational Providers:

City of Dublin Education and Training Board, Dublin Dun Laoghaire Education and Training Board, Dublin City University, National College of Ireland, Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, Institute of Technology Blanchardstown, Institute of Technology Tallaght, Dublin Institute of Technology, Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology, National College of Art and Design and Skillnets.

Working in partnership with other industry bodies including:

DSP, IDA-Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, National Disability Authority, IBEC, Local County Councils, Local Enterprise Offices, ISME and Dublin Chambers of Commerce.



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