Establishment of SOLAS welcomed

Today, 29th October 2013, the Board, management and staff of the new Further Education and Training Authority, An tSeirbhís Oideachais Leanúnaigh agus Scileanna (SOLAS) welcomed the signing of the Establishment Order to bring it into being by the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D.

 

Its establishment, which also brings about the dissolution of FÁS, is a very significant event in the Further Education and Training Sector (FET) in Ireland. The aim is to build a clear, integrated pathway to work for learners through Further Education and Training. Entirely new structures including SOLAS and the recently established Education & Training Boards are being put in place which will enhance the sector greatly.

 

The new Chairman of SOLAS, Mr. Pat Delaney today welcomed the announcement ‘The new Board will hold its first Board meeting next week and is very much looking forward to utilising this opportunity to bring about a revitalised, world class FET sector in Ireland.’

 

Speaking on the first working day of the new organisation, Paul O’Toole, CEO designate of SOLAS said ‘I would like to thank the team who have put a lot of work into the preparation for the establishment of SOLAS. Over the coming months we will focus on the successful transfer of former FÁS Training operations to the Education and Training Boards whilst simultaneously developing a robust 5 year strategy for the Further Education and Training Sector. This will be done in consultation with relevant stakeholders and will set out a proposed roadmap for the FET sector in response to needs and opportunities for the short, medium and longer term.’

 

As the Education & Training Boards take over the management of training delivery, SOLAS will focus all its energy on planning, funding and driving the development of a new, integrated Further Education and Training service.

 

SOLAS will strive to ensure that every learner has access to the best possible Further Education and Training and will work to build a new learner focused FET service in Ireland that is fit for purpose and designed to meet future needs.

 

To achieve this, SOLAS will work closely with a wide range of stakeholders including learners, employers, Education & Training Boards, Government departments, state bodies, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Institutes of Technology (IOTs) and representative organisations.

 

 

The Department of Social Protection has already taken over responsibility from FÁS for Community Employment and Employment Services. The new INTREO offices are now the first point of contact for jobseekers and are the gateway for unemployed learners seeking training support.

 

Former FÁS Training Centres are transferring to the new Education & Training Boards, who will take over responsibility for the management of training delivery. The phased handover of FÁS Centres and related training activity will be completed during 2014. This will also include the transfer of Contracted Training and funding for Community Training Centres, Local Training Initiatives and Specialist Training Provision.

 

Until the transfer process is complete, SOLAS will manage training on a temporary basis. Training courses will continue as normal and learners will not be disturbed by the organisational change. Certification of courses will not be affected.

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