New funding available for enterprise training - Businesses encouraged to apply


Skillnets – the national agency responsible for funding and supporting training networks – has announced details of a new training fund that will support private sector businesses with the growth and competitiveness agenda by addressing their current and future skills needs.


A group of businesses from the same sector or region can collectively apply to establish a Skillnets training network, and draw down funding support for the development and delivery of training. Established training networks enable groups of businesses to work together to determine their own training needs and how, when and where training will be delivered. Participating businesses are of all sizes and the fund is also open to applications from industry federations, industry bodies or enterprise groups. 


According to Brendan McGinty, Skillnets Chairman: “Ensuring Ireland has the quality and quantity of skills needed for business to grow is a key element of the Government’s economic and employment strategy. The Skillnets enterprise-led model has proven itself to be innovative and adaptable to the ever-changing needs of enterprise, supporting businesses in working together to identify and meet the skills requirements in their industry.


Investment at enterprise level in the skills of employees can help businesses to remain competitive and can create significant additional value such as improved productivity and increased profits. Other benefits include greater staff engagement, which in itself drives employee retention in what is an increasingly competitive job market. These business benefits can be accomplished with relatively low investment through engagement with the Skillnets training network model.”


Skillnets operates under a joint investment model whereby training networks can apply to receive up to 50 per cent of the cost of training from Skillnets, and the remainder of costs are funded in matching contributions from participating businesses in the training network.  Skillnets already supports over 60 training networks in a wide range of sectors including life sciences, manufacturing, information technology, food/beverage, financial and agriculture, and mixed sectoral training networks across many regions.


Speaking about the training fund Paul Healy, Skillnets Chief Executive, said: “With the Irish economy now in a growth phase an increasing number of businesses are looking to expand. Scaling a business is usually predicated on a supply of the necessary skills and talent. In the last two years our open calls for Skillnets training networks have resulted in the establishment of 15 new training networks, indicating the growing demand among businesses for relevant and innovative solutions to address skills shortages in the workplace. Skillnets is pleased to announce another new fund for Skillnets training networks this year, so that more businesses looking to grow their organisations can be supported with workforce development.”


The first closing date for the new funding call is April 3rd, with a second closing date later in the year on October 3rd.


For groups of businesses interested in developing a new training network and applying for the training fund, full details are available on or direct contact can be made with a member of the Skillnets team: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  / 01-2079630.

Announcement of extra €4 million funding for Local Enterprise Offices


Minister for Small Business and Employment, Pat Breen TD, recently announced €4m in funding for the Local Enterprise Offices to stimulate new start-ups and jobs across the country and to help micro businesses to cope with challenges in the year ahead.


Minister Breen said, “The Local Enterprise Offices have shown the potential of small businesses to create jobs in every locality and the Government wants to boost that effort to spread recovery to all parts of the country. Companies are facing global economic challenges and the extra funding will be mainly used to work with clients to cope with those challenges, to investigate new markets and new opportunities and to boost the pipeline of new start-ups around Ireland.”


Full details of the announcement can be found at:

Irish Times Online – Illegal dumping Section


Some of Ireland’s most beautiful landscapes are being damaged by illegal dumping, and it is getting worse. In response, The Irish Times has launched a campaign to help people to highlight abuses and to help to get clean-ups completed.


They would like business owners and the business community across Ireland to get involved and report illegal dumping that may be affecting the local area.


If you would like help combat illegal dumping you can contact the Irish times directly at including pictures and full details about location.


Keep in touch with the campaign: or @IllegalDumping on Twitter

CETA update




In late 2016, the EU concluded and signed a new free trade deal with Canada - the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement, or CETA for short. This agreement will remove over 99% of tariffs between the EU and Canada and will create sizeable new market access opportunities in services and investment and will help to generate growth and jobs by:


  • boosting exports
  • lowering the cost of the inputs businesses need to make their products
  • offering greater choice for consumers, and
  • upholding the EU's strict standards for products


The agreement was approved by the International Trade Committee of the Parliament (INTA) on 24th January 2017 and will now be voted on by the European Parliament in February before it can be provisionally applied. (Should this happen, provisional application is expected in April/May).


CETA will provide opportunities for Irish based firms to further diversify their export markets. The issue of growing market share in other markets is now made even more important by the result of the recent UK referendum on its membership of the EU. The CETA agreement was also discussed at the Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Committee on the 17th January.


Click here to download a factsheet showing the benefits of CETA for Business.

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