A series of online and blended learning initiatives have been launched to support the co-operative sector, its members and their families.
The series was introduced by ICOS Skillnet, the learning and development division of the Irish Co-operative Organisation Society.
To date, more than 30 online programmes have been launched.
Billy Goodburn, Head of Learning and Development, ICOS Skillnet said: “We realise this is an extremely difficult time for so many people and their families.
“Many co-operative staff are effectively working on the frontline, and many businesses in our communities have been forced to close, hopefully only temporarily.
“The coronavirus restrictions have left many feeling anxious and stressed with unexpected extra time on their hands.
“However, we must also make the best of things. The co-operative sector is renowned for its strength and resilience and it has coped with very many challenges in the past.
“The processes of training, education and development must continue, and that is why we are delighted to launch a series of initiatives in support of this aim.”
ICOS Skillnet is offering 22 online programmes FREE of charge not only to co-operative members and their staff, but also to their families, their farmer members and their respective families too.
The learning and development division of ICOS has also added nine free online programmes (including courses relating to Business Management, Corporate Governance, Financial Reporting, Bullying and Harassment Prevention, Good Manufacturing Practice; An Introduction to Continuous Improvement in Manufacturing, Lean and Waste Reduction, Quality Improvement and also Maintaining Improvements.
These are also now available on the ICOS Skillnet online learning platform.
Additionally, Billy Goodburn outlined that ICOS Skillnet has worked with some of its training providers and are now offering a series of virtual classroom training sessions for industry.
Some of these include, COVID-19 Mitigation Strategy for the Food Industry (1 Day); Setting Remote Working up for Success (2 Days); Successfully Managing Remote Working (2 Days); Emotional Wellbeing & Resilience during COVID-19 (2 Hours).
“We are also working with UCC to make some of their more technical programmes, that we already deliver, available through virtual classrooms,” he continued.
“We have also developed a top tips list for remote workers for employers and for employees.
“Additionally, we have received funding to support industry with their training needs (from April inclusive to 30th June) at a rate of 100%, with no matching funding requirements, in areas such as business continuity, management development, eCommerce including online retail, and future requirements post COVID 19 in terms of skills development for long term sustainability.”