For Oral Answer on : 01/12/2022
Question Number(s): 131 Question Reference(s): 59832/22
Department: Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
To ask the Minister for Further and Higher Education; Research; Innovation and Science if his Department has examined the role that the National Maritime College of Ireland can play training students and upskilling staff to service the emerging offshore wind industry in Ireland; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
As the Deputy will be aware, the Government is committed to the achievement of ambitious targets for offshore wind generation capacity by 2030 and is ensuring that the education and training system is appropriately positioned to support the growth and development of the skills required the move to Zero Carbon.
Important skills and workforce responses are already in place to meet the needs of the off-shore wind sector. These include, for example, the Green Tech Skillnet, promoted by Wind Energy Ireland, the representative body for the Irish wind industry. The Skillnet delivers training to support the optimisation of renewables on the Irish grid in the short, medium, and long term through upskilling and management development in wind, solar and hydrogen technologies, from planning, construction, and maintenance training as well as business supports in human resources, marketing and finance. Training supports are also being rolled out on the recently adopted Maritime Area Planning Act, 2021.
The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs report – ‘Skills for Zero Carbon – The Demand for Renewable Energy, Residential Retrofit and Electric Vehicle Deployment Skills to 2030’ published in 2021, advises on the nature and quantity of the skills required by these Zero Carbon sectors over the next decade, and will help inform the broader response put in place in order to deliver on the targets set for offshore renewable energy.
Skillnet Ireland – a Government of Ireland agency funded by my Department – invested over €1m in grant funding to Green Tech Skillnet during 2020 and 2021.
It is important that projected workforce requirements are informed by the expertise of the relevant sectoral, Departmental and industry experts, with my Department contributing based upon its responsibility to align the future output at third level education with such current and emerging workforce plans.
The success of the Government’s plans for the development of off-shore wind energy in Ireland will require the mobilisation of the whole of the network of technological universities (including the South East Technological University), institutes of technology, and further education and training providers.
Ireland has an ambitious skills agenda supported by an advanced system of skills provision, across Further and Higher Education, lifelong learning and human capital development, which is agile and responsive to changes in the world of work, in order to address evolving skills needs.