SOLAS (An tSeirbhís Oideachais Leanúnaigh agus Scileanna) was formally established on 27th October 2013 by the then Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D. It operates under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills.
What does SOLAS do?
SOLAS has been established to develop and give strategic direction to the Further Education and Training Sector in Ireland. It is responsible for funding, planning and co-ordinating a wide range of training and further education programmes and has a mandate to ensure the provision of 21st century high-quality programmes to jobseekers and other learners.
SOLAS will focus all its energy on planning, funding and driving the development of a new, integrated Further Education and Training service. SOLAS will strive to ensure that every learner has access to the best possible Further Education and Training (FET) and will work to build a new learner focused FET service in Ireland that is fit for purpose and designed to meet future needs.
To achieve this, SOLAS will work closely with a wide range of stakeholders including learners, employers, Education & Training Boards, Government departments, state bodies, Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the Higher Education Authority (HEA), Institutes of Technology (IOTs) and representative organisations. The aim is to build a clear, integrated pathway to work for learners through Further Education and Training.
The ETB Solas Project Management Office
The ETB/SOLAS Project Management Office (PMO) was established in May 2013. It is responsible for managing the reform programme for the ETB/SOLAS sector.
On 1 July 2013 16 education and training boards (ETBs) were established to replace 33 vocational education committees (VECs). SOLAS, the Further Education and Training Authority, was established on 27 October 2013.
Seven training centres transferred from SOLAS to ETBs on 1 January 2014, the remainder of training centres were transferred on 1st July 2014. Given the significance of these reforms, and the challenges which they give rise to, the Department of Education and Skills established the ETB/SOLAS PMO to manage the programme of reform.
The ETB/SOLAS Programme Board was established in May 2013 to actively support and enable the implementation of the overall reform programme for the ETB/SOLAS sector. This Programme Board is chaired by the Secretary General and includes members of the Department’s senior management team along with the General Secretary of ETBI, the Chief Executive of SOLAS and the Chief Executives of two ETBs.
What We Do
The Project Management Office supports both immediate, operational matters as well as the long-term strategic objectives of the change agenda for both ETBs and SOLAS. The ETB/SOLAS Project Management Office has identified five strategic priorities for the sector which form part of this change management project:
- ETB/SOLAS Governance
- HR/IR – People
Latest News from the Project Management Office (click on the links to download the latest newsletters):
Further Education and Training Strategy
One of the first tasks for SOLAS was to develop a 5 year strategy for the sector in consultation with relevant stakeholders. The Strategy sets out the vision for the FET sector in response to needs and opportunities for the short, medium and longer term. Download The 2014 Further Education and Training Services Plan [PDF 8Mb]
Objectives of SOLAS
SOLAS aims to be a respected leader and contributor to the provision of high quality, relevant, FET opportunities to learners thereby enhancing their personal development and capacity to gain or regain employment. The core objective of the establishment of SOLAS is to strengthen the FET sector. Within that, SOLAS has three strategic objectives:
- Leading and co-ordinating the change management process of integrating FET institutions and programmes;
- Co-ordinating and managing the funding and performance of FET programmes;
- Leading the modernisation of FET programmes to ensure that they are focussed on the lifelong needs of learners, especially jobseekers, and are flexible and relevant to the needs of the labour market.