2015 FET Skills Profile

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The first skills profile of the Further Education and Training workforce in Ireland

  • The ETBs, with support from SOLAS, are undertaking the first national skills profile of the FET workforce in autumn 2015.
  • All ETB staff involved in the provision of Further Education and Training across Ireland will be asked to participate – FET practitioners, managers and support staff.
  • The profile will capture the first detailed picture of the training and experience of the FET workforce, the jobs people are doing and the support people might need to develop in their careers.
  • All staff will be asked to complete a short online survey via an email link. It will be easy to complete, taking no more than 10 minutes of each person’s time.
  • The process is confidential and voluntary. However, a high participation rate will help to ensure that future training and development opportunities for FET staff are relevant to their needs and those of the sector.

Why is the FET Skills Profile project being undertaken?

The FET Strategy 2014-2019 sets out a range of actions to develop the FET sector. These actions include the on-going development of the FET workforce which plays a vital role in providing the skills and education to support the wide range of people who benefit from FET, as well as communities and employers.

However, there is currently a lack of information about the FET workforce as a whole, indeed it is something of an under-researched area. The skills profile will contribute to remedying this situation in that it will provide a baseline picture of the staff in the sector in relation to their skills, qualifications and experience. This information will provide part of the evidence for developing a strategy, funding and supports for the continuing professional development of these staff. It is therefore important that as many staff as possible take part.

What information will be gathered as part of the project?

The profile survey tool will ask staff about their job role, their qualifications, length of experience, the training they have been involved in and their level of confidence in certain skill areas. It will also ask staff for their opinion about the future supports they may need. Staff will not be asked for any personal information and responses will be treated with utmost confidentiality.

What will happen to the information that staff provide? Who will be able to access it and how will it be used?

Completion of the skills profile tool is voluntary. All information is gathered on a confidential basis. Minimal individual characteristic information will need to be gathered (age bands, gender) but this will not enable the identification of individual respondents. Furthermore, individual responses (the raw data) will not be accessible by ETBs or SOLAS. The reports produced out of the skills profile process will be at an aggregate level and will not identify any individual respondents.

The survey is completed using secure online software (Snap). Once staff members complete the survey it will be held by Snap WebHost’s data centre and only accessible by the independent organisation supporting the process, ICF Consulting. Data will be held securely in line with international standards (ISO 27001 and 27002). A further note on data security is available.

What will be the outputs from the project?

The skills profile report will consist of sixteen individual ETB-level reports, and one overall national report. The ETB-level reports will be provided to that ETB only. The reports will consist of aggregate information on the skills and qualifications profile of staff in each FET programme area.

Who is involved?

Each ETB is managing the roll-out of the profile survey tool in its area. SOLAS is providing support to co-ordinate the process and to ensure a common approach across all ETBs, thus enabling the development of a national picture of the FET workforce. SOLAS has contracted with a research organisation, ICF Consulting, to support the design of the tool and the implementation of the skills profile project. ICF will hold and analyse the data that comes out of the project and produce a series of reports about the workforce (for each ETB and at national level).

What will staff be expected to do?

The profile survey tool is being designed for ease of response. It only asks for information that is crucial to understanding the profile of the workforce. When the tool is launched, each staff member will receive an email containing an online link. They will be asked to answer a number of questions about their job, skills, experience and development needs. This should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Once staff have clicked to submit the profile, their job is done.

In the case of staff who may not have online access, arrangements are being made by the ETBs to provide alternative ways of taking part in the profile survey exercise.

What is the Project Timescale?

The FET skills profile tool will be developed and piloted with the support of staff within three ETBs (Dublin & Dun Laoghaire ETB, Kerry ETB, Kildare & Wicklow ETB). It is anticipated that development of the tool will be completed in October 2015. It will then be rolled out to all ETBs by the end of 2015. It is expected that profile reports will be produced by the end of the first quarter of 2016.

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