Further Education and Training Sector
Education and Training Boards (ETBs) are statutory bodies that are required to review, plan, co-ordinate and deliver further education and training within their functional areas. Education and Training Boards (ETBs) are operating as newly formed statutory bodies within a sector that has been the subject of seismic change and reform in last number of years.
Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI)
ETBI is the National Representative body for ETBs. CDETB works with other ETBs to devise sectoral responses to common issues in the main through its representative body Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI). Programme development is an area where there is a long history of collaboration. It has also been working on QA issues through the ETBI QA Steering Group under the remit of the FET Directors Forum. A number of sectoral QA projects have commenced including examination of a new External Authentication model. A member of the FET Development Team is on the ETBI QA Forum to examine the practical implications and to engage on an operational level with sectoral QA responses.
SOLAS is the Further Education and Training Authority that has responsibly for sectoral strategic planning and funding. It was established by the Department of Education and Skills under the Further Education and Training Act 2013. The latter provided for the dissolution of FÁS and the transfer of former FÁS Training Centres and their staff to relevant ETBs. SOLAS was required to propose a five year strategy for the provision of FET, The Further Education and Training Strategy 2014-2019 is available here: https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Policy-Reports/Further-Education-and-Training-Strategy-2014-2019.pdf
SOLAS in conjunction with the sixteen Education and Training Boards, is responsible for the integration, coordination and funding of a wide range of further education and training programme.
Qualifications and Quality Assurance Authority of Ireland (QQI)
QQI is a state agency established by the Quality Assurance and Qualifications (Education and Training) Act 2012 with a board appointed by the Minister for Education and Skills. QQI carries out functions which were formerly those of the Further Education and Training Awards Council (FETAC); the Higher Education and Training Awards Council (HETAC); the Irish Universities Quality Board (IUQB) and the National Qualifications Authority of Ireland (NQAI). QQI has a number of functions, it is the External Quality Assurance Agency, the Statutory Awarding Body and it maintains the National Framework of Qualifications.
Department of Education and Skills
All the new statutory bodies are operating under the auspices of the Department of Education and Skills (DES). DES therefore has a key role in terms of policy co-ordination in the Further Education and Training (FET) sector.
FESS – Further Education Support Service.
This is a national service set up to support the work of CDETB individually and work being carried out nationally especially in areas of programme development and quality assurance initiatives e.g. the training of External Authenticators, Programme Evaluators, the development of national teaching resources such as the Programme Module Specific Resources.
Other Stakeholders within the FET Sector
- Staff – including their representative bodies e.g. Trade Unions
- Industry and Professional Bodies
- Other State Departments and Regulatory Bodies E.g. Intreo
- Other Awarding Bodies e.g City and Guilds, ITEC and BTEC
- Higher Education Institutions
- Leargás and other European Partners, including employers and FET institutions
- Communities within Dublin City
Progression to Further and Higher Education Institutions
CDETB, has a long history of providing progression paths for learners into further education and higher education courses. Learners will often go on to access the labour market upon completion of their degree or masters courses. Partnerships with HEI is a key part of ensuring progression for FET graduates. Recent developments in this area include the development of the Maths for STEM programme by CDETB, in conjunction with QQI, and representatives of an expert group from DIT, UCD, Trinity and Engineers Ireland. The purpose of this programme is allow learners another opportunity to develop competencies in maths to facilitate progression onto STEM degree programmes. This is just one example of the positive working relationship between Further Education and Higher Education (HE).
Supporting Community Providers
Many years ago CDETB made a strategic decision to collaborate and support other community education and training providers within its region. Such a decision was based on the strong belief that community providers are essential in the successful delivery of FET programmes especially at the lower levels on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ). CDETB still recognises the important role that these community providers can play in achieving European and national goals in terms of achieving greater participation in FET programmes by vulnerable groups.
CDETB funds such community education providers because these organisations are embedded and active in their communities in way that a CDTEB service would struggle to achieve. These organisations have built up a high degree of social capital within their communities by having built up a solid reputation for providing relevant education programmes in their communities, a deep understanding their client base and the trust and confidence this inspires within their communities. The extensive social networks which have been built up by these organisations within their communities is also a key part of their success in meeting the education and training needs of the of the different groupings within their communities. It is this significant social capital which enables them to draw in some of the most vulnerable learners who are often at the greatest distance from accessing the labour market or further and higher education.
Engagement with Employers and other Stakeholders as part of Programme Design, Development and Delivery
CDETB works closely with employers and employer representative bodies though the Regional Skills Forum and through other networks. CDETB centres also engage directly with local employers in relation to work based learning elements of programmes, employer inputs to programmes and all Colleges and Training Centres have employer representatives on their Boards. CDETB centres also organise Employers Fora, Industry Days, Skills Days and job fairs.
The continued development of Traineeships and Apprenticeships also facilitates even closer working relationships with employers.
CDETB is also guided by the work of the Apprenticeship Council and the Expert Group of Future Skills. These stakeholder relationships are essential to meet the objectives set out in Ireland National Skills Strategy, to ensure FET programmes lead graduates to quality roles with positive career paths in industry, through direct access or via higher education institutions.
CDETB also provides programmes for people in employment in conjunction with employers such as the Apprenticeship programmes, the Skills for Work programmes, part-time programmes through the evening training programmes and the tailored programmes in conjunction with employers in specific areas such as retail, construction and hospitality.
CDETB, also participates on European led initiatives such as ERAMUS to promote student mobility within the EU, which are funded through Leargas. CDETB also engaged in other European lead capacity building projects such as Blend4VET and TELMS, which have a focus of the use of technology for enhancing FET provision.
Please see relevant sections in the CDETB Executive Self-Evaluation Report.
Please also see:
The Regional Skills fora http://www.regionalskills.ie/
For more information on Apprenticeships http://www.apprenticeship.ie/en/about/Pages/About.aspx
European Mobility Programmes https://www.leargas.ie/
If you are an employer and interested in engaging with CDETB in relation to programme development and providing opportunities for work based learning please contact the CDETB Employer Engagement Unit at phone number 01 8322835.