Focus area
Skills to Advance is a national initiative that provides upskilling and reskilling opportunities to employees in jobs undergoing change and to those currently employed in vulnerable sectors. It equips employees with the skills they need to progress in their current role or to adapt to the changing job market. Working wth employers - especially SMEs - skills needs are identified in the workforce and subsidised education and training to staff is provided. The scheme is potentially open to all but especially those: currently working in a lower-skilled job; aged 50 or over; or currently working in a job that is experiencing significant change.
Implementation level
At what level is the initiative implemented?
Starting period
TIMESPAN: In what year did the initiative commence?
2019 to the present
PERSPECTIVE: is the initiative based on evidence derived from skill forecasts or foresight activities?
Policy area
To which POLICY AREAS(s) does the initiative apply?
How it is funded?
Funded by national government
Funding for the Skills to Advance scheme is provided by the Department of Education and Skills from the National Training Fund. Funding is determined through the annual estimates process and the final amounts made available to Skills to Advance as noted in the Estimates for Public Services as approved by Dáil Éireann

Skill mismatch

Skill mismatch target
What type(s) of skills MISMATCH does the initiative aim to addresses?
Underqualification (individuals' qualifications/credentials are below their job's needs)
Skill shortages (employers cannot fill their vacancies due to a lack of skills in the labour market)
Skill gaps (worker's skills are below the level of proficiency required by their employers and jobs)
Skills obsolescence (some or all of an individual's skills are no longer relevant to the current employer or in the labour market generally)
Skills matching focus
How does  the initiative address skills mismatches?
By working with employers it will be possible to identify the skill needs of the priority groups and provide them with subsidised training. There is a process of working to identify the specific skill needs of particular groups.
Skills delivered
What types of skill  does the initiative deliver?
Potentially all skills are in scope of Skills to Advance.
Basic literacy and numeracy skills
Basic digital skills
More advanced digital skills
General employability skills (team working, communication, etc.)
Green skills


What methods of undertaking skills assessments and / or skills anticipation does the policy instrument utilise?
Skills forecasting
SOLAS hosts the Skills and Labour Market Research Market Research Unit, which produces the majority of majority of Ireland’s labour market intelligence and skills data.
Use of skills intelligence
How is labour market information / skills intelligence used within the initiative?


Main responsible body
Main body or organisation with overall responsibility for the initiative.
National ministry
Department of Education and Skills
Other involved organisations
Which other organisations have a role in the initiative?
National agency
Regional agency
Education and Training Boards
Social partner: employer organisation
Small and medium sized enterprises and other organisations with limited capacity to identify and meet skills development needs of their employees in lower skilled work.Companies in industry sectors which are experiencing particular changes in work practices, technology and markets and require support to upskill and reskill employees in lower skilled work.
Who are the intended beneficiaries?
Potentially open to all but especially: those people working in SMEs, those currently working in a lower-skilled job; aged 50 or over; or currently working in a job / sector that is experiencing significant change.
Adults with low basic skills
Adults in employment with upskilling potential
Adults in employment with reskilling potential
Employed adults at risk of job displacement


Success factors
SUCCESS FACTORS in the implementation
Employer engagement and process ensures commitment to the training
BARRIERS in the implementation
Unknown at this time.
Monitoring and evaluation
MONITORING and EVALUATION: Is progress measured regularly? What are the indicators used to measure progress of the policy instrument? Have any evaluations been conducted?
An evaluation Report is expected in the future
UPDATES: whether there have been any major updates of the initiative since it has been implemented?
EVIDENCE ON EFFECTIVENESS: How effective is the policy instrument?
Various case studies are available on the SOLAS website which provide success stories in the implementation of training activities which match employer aims with employee satisfaction in upskilling.
SUSTAINABILITY: How sustainable is the policy instrument? Do you expect the instrument to continue over the next few years and why?
The policy instrument is well integrated nationally through its delivery with local education and training boards. Funding is the main obstacle to long term delivery.

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