The new further education and training authority SOLAS (Seirbhísí Oideachais Leanúnaigh agus Scileanna) announced yesterday (27th July) by Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn is a positive move according to Sligo North Leitrim Senator Susan O’Keeffe.
“SOLAS will provide staff of the VEC and FÁS a management structure that will provide direction to further education and training. SOLAS is designed to ensure that training provided to Job Seekers is relevant to the modern jobs market.
“We need to see a move away from traditional training for traditional jobs such as construction to more high skilled technology based jobs. There will always be a need for traditional trades but the days of mass employment in such trades are gone.
“FÁS will be renamed SOLAS on an administrative basis as soon as possible. As a first step, SOLAS will take responsibility for all those FÁS staff and premises not being transferred to the Department of Social Protection as part of the restructuring already underway.
“Other FÁS staff will be transferred to the VECs, so that new VECs such as the amalgamation Sligo, Mayo and Leitrim will ultimately be responsible for the delivery of further education and training. This will result in a more integrated delivery of training services.
“Students currently participating in FÁS and other training schemes need not worry however, as they will continue their courses under the new authority.”