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History

The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) was established by the Government in November 1997 as part of a Business, Education and Training Partnership to assist in the development of national strategies to tackle the issue of skills needs, manpower forecasting and education and training for business. While the mandate of the EGFSN had been updated periodically since 1997, its core function had remained the same: To advise the Government on future skills requirements and associated labour market issues that impact on the national potential for employment growth.

The EGFSN is an independent, non-statutory body, which includes representatives from the business community (including individual practitioners and representative bodies), education and training providers, learner-support groups, trade unions, and a small number of Government Departments and agencies (DES, DJEI, EI, IDA, SOLAS, HEA). See appendix 1A for full list.

The EGFSN identifies the skills required by enterprises across occupations and sectors. Its work provides information to education and training providers to support the alignment of programmes with employers’ needs and underpins labour market activation programmes. Its publications assist individuals to make informed decisions around employment opportunities and career choices.

Skills forecasting exercises are used to inform the number of vacancies in Further Education and Training or Higher Education, to inform the design and allocation of on-the-job or re-training programmes, to inform apprenticeship programmes and to develop migration policy.

A number of significant initiatives have emerged from recommendations made in EGFSN reports in recent years, including:

  • Introduction of bonus points for successful Honour Maths candidates at Leaving Cert Level.
  • Introduction and implementation of an ICT Skills Action Plan to address higher level skills shortages in ICT occupations.
  • Development of a Foreign Languages Strategy (a deliverable under the 2016 Action Plan for Jobs).
  • Development of new Apprenticeships in non-traditional sectors (e.g. HGV drivers, Chefs).

EGFSN has produced a number of sectoral skill studies since 1997.