Publication of National Training Fund Expenditure Report 2018

17 May 2018 

Government publishes the National Training Fund Expenditure Report 2018

 

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, T.D., the Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. and the Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development John Halligan T.D., today published the National Training Fund Expenditure Report 2018.

The National Training Fund (NTF) was established by the National Training Fund Act 2000 to raise the skills of those in employment, to give jobseekers relevant skills and to facilitate lifelong learning. 

The report shows how over €415 million is being invested in programmes in 2018 which meet the skill need of the economy, support unemployed people in their journey back to work and assist those in employment to acquire new skills. This includes the expansion of the apprenticeship and traineeship schemes, additional investment in Springboard and additional support to increase skills for those in employment through Skillnet Ireland.

Today’s announcement is part of a number of actions that are required to make Ireland the best in Europe in meeting and responding to skills needs across the economy and delivering improved career outcomes for participants.

The 2018 NTF allocations represent a major shift in the focus of expenditure from the Fund.  Programmes will be tightly focused on the skills and competencies needed across higher education, further education and training and other funding recipients. €415.4 million will be invested through the Fund in 2018 to support skills (up by €49m since 2017), including:

  • €182.5 million for Education & Training Board programmes focused on training people for employment.
  • €122 million for apprenticeships.
  • €37 million for Labour Market focused Higher Education.
  • €30.4 million for Springboard courses.
  • €21.7 million supporting Skillnet Ireland in meeting skills gaps in the economy.

 

This additional investment will see us expand the number of apprentices on new apprenticeships by 1,500, trainees by 1,500, Springboard participants by 1,500 and Skillnet participants by 5,000.

Following a consultation process, the Government, as part of Budget 2018, decided to raise the rate of the National Training Fund levy by 0.1% in 2018 to 0.8% and by a further 0.1% in both 2019 and 2020 on the basis of the implementation of planned reforms. This report is part of the wider series of reforms announced as part of Budget 2018 responding to issues raised by employers during a consultation process with them to make it more responsive to employer needs, to increase transparency on the use of the Fund, and to give employers a greater say in informing priorities for the Fund.

The key reforms include:

  • A      Comprehensive Review of the NTF.
  • Additional and refocused      expenditure on programmes relevant to employers. 
  • An      NTF more aligned with employer needs.
  • A      greater say for employers, more transparency and stronger evaluation.
  • A      new approach to ensuring further education and training are aligned to      local and regional needs through skills audits and performance agreements.

The comprehensive review of the National Training Fund is underway which is expected to be completed shortly will inform the 2019 budgetary process.

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton T.D., said, “The publication of the National Training Fund Expenditure Report 2018 is an important step in the ongoing reform of the Fund and confirms the commitment to transparency on its use.

“The increase in the NTF levy in budget 2018 allows for increased investment in training and upskilling across further education and training and higher education to help grow productivity, improve competitiveness and create high quality career pathways.”

Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, T.D., said, “This report highlights the capacity of the NTF to contribute to funding reform in the Higher Education Sector with a move to fund mainstream labour market focused higher education programmes that are producing graduates to meet identified areas of skill need.”

Minister for Training, Skills, Innovation, Research and Development, John Halligan, T.D., said, “The report shows the significant increased investment in apprenticeships and traineeships in order to meet our commitment to double the number of annual apprenticeship and traineeship enrolments to 14,000 by 2020 and to expand into a range of new areas.”

The report can be accessed on the Department for Education & Skills website at the following link: https://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Education-Reports/national-training-fund-expenditure-report-2018.pdf

 

Notes for the Editor  

The National Training Fund (NTF) was established by the National Training Fund Act, 2000, as a dedicated fund to support the training of those in employment, and those seeking employment.  The Act also provides for the funding of research to provide information on existing and likely future skills requirements of the economy.

The creation of the fund was announced in Budget 2000 by the then Minister for Finance to raise the skills of those in employment, to give jobseekers relevant skills and to facilitate lifelong learning.  The NTF replaced the Apprenticeship Levy which was set up under The Industrial Training (Apprenticeship Levy) Act 1994. In May 2010, responsibility for the NTF was transferred from the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation to the Minister for Education and Skills.

Following a consultation process, the Government, as part of Budget 2018, decided to raise the rate of the National Training Fund (NTF) levy by 0.1% in 2018 to 0.8% and by a further 0.1% in both 2019 and 2020.

This measure allows for additional expenditure of €47.5 million from the NTF in 2018 under the EU fiscal rules. 

Following issues raised by employers during a consultation process with them a number of key reforms to the NTF are being introduced to make it more responsive to employer needs and to give employers a greater say in informing priorities for the Fund.

This increase in the NTF levy takes account of the benefit to employers of having access to skilled graduates across further education and training and higher education to meet their identified skills needs as well as being able to access training for their current employees.

The increase is being accompanied by a programme of reforms in how the NTF is managed, evaluated and reported on. Some of the key reforms include:

  • A      Comprehensive Review of the NTF.
  • Additional and refocused      expenditure on programmes relevant to employers. 
  • An      NTF more aligned with employer needs.
  • A      greater say for employers, more transparency and stronger      evaluation. 
  • A      new strategic dialogue model, incorporating strategic performance      agreements clearly aligning local/regional and national targets, will be      put in place in FET from 2018.