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Ireland: publication of the National skills bulletin (2022)

The National skills bulletin 2022, now in its 18th edition, is produced by the Skills and Labour Market Unit of the Irish Further Education and Training Authority (SOLAS). It aims to assist policy formulation in the areas of employment, education/training, and immigration. It provides a guide to inform and shape policy, especially in terms of the skills – including re-skilling opportunities – that can be delivered through Ireland’s education and training system. It is targeted at career guidance advisors, students and other individuals making career and educational choices.

The National skills bulletin offers a detailed overview of the labour market in 2021, and examines a wide range of occupations, highlighting those that are most demanded by the labour market and identifying challenges occurring.  In 2022, Ireland’s workforce has never been larger, and it continues to grow, with 2.5 million people in employment by the end of last year. 

The growth in employment has not only led to intensification of existing skills shortages, but also the emergence of additional shortages across a range of occupations. The Irish economy needs more ICT professionals and engineers, and there are many vacancies in healthcare, construction, hospitality and transport that need to be filled. While many of these shortages are being experienced globally, it is imperative that the Irish education and training system continue to evolve to meet the needs of the labour market, particularly in relation to the changing skill requirements associated with technological change, and the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The tertiary education system is also working to address skills shortages identified, with programmes including Skills to compete, Skills to advance, SkillNet, Springboard, courses in Near zero energy buildings (NZEB) and Centres of Excellence (dealing with retrofit skills, including (NZEB) skills) , eCollege, and an expanding and diversifying array of apprenticeship offerings.

The National Skills Bulletin is comprised of 10 sections:

  1. Macroeconomic;
  2. Labour market overview;
  3. Employment by economic sector;
  4. Employment by broad occupation;
  5. Regional labour market overview;
  6. Unemployment;
  7. Labour market transitions and recent job hires;
  8. Employment permits;
  9. Vacancies;
  10. Occupational employment profiles.

The richness of material in these sections is vital for the Further Education and Training (FET) system, such as FET skills delivery, national initiatives in supporting people towards employment or upskilling across the lifelong learning landscape. The bulletin can be regarded a key enabler for the sector and the overall national Further Education and Training Strategy.