Policy Forum for Ireland

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7538736244 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7951044809.

If you’re already booked on, joining instructions can be accessed from five working days before your conference via the booking dashboard. Need help? Contact us at delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Next steps for Skills and Apprenticeships in Ireland

Morning, Wednesday, 3rd November 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will consider priorities for implementing the Government’s Apprenticeship Action Plan, and how best to achieve its ambition to modernise the Irish apprenticeship system, including:

  • expanding the range of apprenticeships
  • establishing a new National Apprenticeship Office
  • improving diversity and inclusion by simplifying routes for entry and enabling flexibility
  • facilitating apprentice engagement with international mobility programmes

Alongside the Action Plan, delegates will consider priorities for Ireland’s skills system in the context of the National Skills Strategy 2025 and the Pathways to Work 2021-2025 plan, and how these dovetail with other ambitions set out in the Programme for Government, as well as wider priorities following the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Ireland’s economy and key sectors such as construction.

We are pleased to be able to include a keynote contribution from Andrew Brownlee, Chief Executive Officer, SOLAS.

Overall, the agenda will bring out latest thinking on:

  • implementing the Apprenticeship Action Plan
  • improving support for employers
  • improving awareness of apprenticeships
  • priority and emerging areas for tackling skills shortages in Ireland
  • skills and employment in rural areas, and dovetailing with policy on rural development
  • latest thinking on international engagement and cross-border apprenticeships


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from the Department for Education; the Department for the Economy, NI; and the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform. Also due to attend are representatives from Colm J. Hyland Network; Department of Social Protection; FDQ; Group GTI; Laois & Offaly Education and Training Board; and Technological University Dublin.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of the Oireachtas, and senior government officials involved in this area of public policy, together with other higher education stakeholders including university leaders, student groups, technical and science centres, virtual learning platforms, teaching professionals and associations, training providers, skills and employment agencies, counsellors and health officers, local government, foreign embassies, academic researchers and reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speaker

Andrew Brownlee

Chief Executive Officer, SOLAS


Colm Markey MEP

Member, Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development


Paul Healy

Chief Executive, Skillnet Ireland

Gina Quin

President, National College of Ireland

Dr Orla Flynn

President, Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology

Senior speaker confirmed from eCollege

Claire McGee

Head of Education and Innovation Policy, Ibec

Stephen Kent

Chief Executive Officer, Bus Éireann