New SOLAS strategy will benefit Further Education and Training in Galway

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A new strategy will expand the role of Further Education and Training in Galway and all across Ireland, according to Andrew Brownlee, CEO of SOLAS –  the Further Education and Training Authority.

The strategy, ‘Future FET: Transforming Learning’, aims to reposition FET as an attractive, in-demand and quality choice for those engaging in upskilling and lifelong learning, as well as for school-leavers.

It envisages “FET Colleges of the future” as “beacons of community-based learning excellence, which can start to change the hearts and minds of Irish society” with regard to school-leaving and education for career development options.

Speaking at the recent launch of the new strategy, Andrew Brownlee said that Further Education and Training is for everyone.

“It is available in every community in Ireland, and offers every individual, regardless of any previous level of education, a pathway to take them as far as they want to go.

“It is delivered locally by 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) ensuring that FET reflects regional characteristics and meets regional needs,” he said.

Mr Brownlee added that SOLAS is looking forward to working with Galway and Roscommon ETB, who “play a vital role in the local community”.

“FET can offer personal development and fulfilment, a link to community and social networks, and a range of supports that reflect the diverse base of its learners,” he said.

“It also offers great opportunities to move into exciting and interesting vocations and careers, or a platform to develop the skills that will allow someone to flourish if they go on to further study in higher education.

“Our new strategy sets out an ambitious vision for the expansion of the FET sector. By 2025, there will be a greater overall penetration of FET across the population. A greater share of Galway and Roscommon school-leavers will be choosing FET or apprenticeships as their first destination.

“People will move seamlessly – in large numbers – between FET and higher education, with clear transition criteria. A significant and growing cohort of people in employment will be using FET to upskill, with employers viewing FET as a critical enterprise resource.

“Progression levels through FET will increase strongly, with pathways from core skills courses and community education available to all who wish to pursue them. A digitally transformed FET system will offer a large portfolio of flexible, online and blended opportunities.”