Question to the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport (Dr Leo Varadkar, TD)
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the role and priorities of Failte Ireland regarding the development of skill sets in the tourism industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. – Jerry Buttimer.
For WRITTEN answer on Tuesday, 5th November, 2013.
The role of Fáilte Ireland, the National Tourism Development Authority, is set out in Section 8 of the National Tourism Development Authority Act 2003 which provides that a general function of the Authority shall be to encourage, promote and support the recruitment, training, and education and development of persons for the purposes of employment in connection with the tourism industry in the State as well as support tourism enterprises. In doing so, it is of course important to have regard to the roles and functions of other statutory bodies in the training area to avoid duplication and ensure the best use of public funds.
In relation to the operational priorities of the Agency in this regard, I have referred this aspect of the Deputy’s Question to Fáilte Ireland for direct reply. Please advise my private office if you do not receive a reply within ten working days.
REPLY FROM FAILTE IRELAND:
88 – 95 Amiens Street,
19 November 2013
Deputy Jerry Buttimer, T.D.,
Dear Deputy Buttimer,
Re: PQ 46857/13 Dáil Number: 1283
Your parliamentary question below has been passed to Fáilte Ireland for answer.
To ask the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the role and priorities of Failte Ireland regarding the development of skill sets in the tourism industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Fáilte Ireland was established under the National Tourism Development Authority Act 2003 to guide and support the sustainable development of tourism in Ireland. At establishment, Fáilte Ireland assumed the roles and functions of the former Bord Fáilte and the tourism training agency, CERT, which at that time also included training centres in Dublin, Cork and Limerick to support its wider training role within the various Institutes of Technology.
Fáilte Ireland’s regional support network for Irish tourism businesses still includes such training facilities, although the focus of such facilities has shifted significantly in response to changing economic circumstances and also industry needs.
The sharp economic downturn has adversely affected employment levels within Irish tourism and also employment opportunities. As a consequence, the priorities within the tourism industry are for on-site practical training interventions to help boost productivity and sustain existing jobs. In this regard, Failte Ireland has been fortunate in utilising the skills of its training instructors to ‘up skill’ industry staff. Industry feedback has been extremely positive. By focussing the staff on shorter, high impact up-skilling programmes, the Fáilte Ireland team can reach more businesses and employees with services that the industry is demanding.
At the same time Fáilte Ireland has sought to provide improved training and career prospects for new entrants. As the most effective way forward, Fáilte Ireland has championed the ‘earn and learn’ approach whereby individuals are provided with access to accredited training on campus (in the Institutes of Technology) on a part-time basis while also learning on the job. New apprenticeship models have been developed and rolled out across the country together with an accelerated training programme for chefs and restaurant service.
Under these programmes, students are provided with a much more valuable training opportunity than was available heretofore. With the agreement of various Institutes of Technology around the country and including Dublin, Cork and Limerick, Fáilte Ireland has been successful in providing more attractive tourism training opportunities by leveraging the public investment in state-of-the-art campus facilities. Approximately 1,600 per annum are funded by Fáilte Ireland in traditional tourism and hospitality programmes within various colleges.
Fáilte Ireland considers that the current provision outlined above addresses adequately the training needs of the industry, and Fáilte Ireland will continue to identify the emerging skills requirements of Irish Tourism. It is worth noting that additional provision in alternative delivery systems such as Solas is always welcome, providing that the service is closely aligned to the present and future needs of Irish Tourism, and that certification is in line with the National Framework for Qualifications (NFQ).
Parliamentary Affairs/Information Management Unit