Dáil Éireann - Volume 672 - 28 January, 2009
Written Answers. - FÁS Training Programmes.
Deputy Ruairí Quinn Deputy Ruairí Quinn
Deputy Ruairí Quinn asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment her views on whether the courses being offered on the FÁS e-college website fail to meet the latest and most recent standards in information technology and that they would not be widely accepted as sufficient qualifications within the IT industry; if she is planning to overhaul this on-line training system with more modern curricula; if her attention has been drawn to the need for the latest training to be put in place if the economy is to recover; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [2501/09]
Deputy Mary Coughlan Deputy Mary Coughlan
Deputy Mary Coughlan: The FÁS e-college website lists 28 courses covering a range of topics related to information technology (IT) and office skills, from Introduction to ECDL to Managing a Server Environment. Learners are assisted to access appropriate and industry recognised certification in test centres close to their location.
FÁS recently consolidated its course offering on its e-Learning platform to facilitate management and quality of the courses and to fit them to the changing needs of its clients. To meet this changing need the current course offerings will be delivered using different methodologies including full time in-centre courses, evening training classes, self directed on-line learning and blended learning, which combines on-line learning with workshops and tutor supported interaction.
The courseware is updated to meet current and future needs of clients who access the service. The courses themselves are updated in line with changes to certification and client demands. FÁS strives to find a balance between the most up to date courses in terms of vendor offerings  and the demand from users of existing IT platforms. All of the other courses offered on the e-college website are up to date with content appropriate to the associated certification available.
FÁS considers that e-learning is a viable and important training delivery methodology and the organisation is currently in the process of extending its use by making an initial 42 on-line courses available in a blended learning format. This will allow FÁS to deliver 25,000 additional training opportunities to clients who need fast, flexible interventions meeting the current needs of the labour market. FÁS plans to expand the current portfolio in response to demand from its training centre network and from client feedback and needs.
In response to the changing needs of the labour market, FÁS is offering an expanded range of on-line training courses with enhanced learner supports. This initiative builds on the existing e-Learning platform and will provide appropriate training for persons with high levels of employability who have been recently made redundant to upskill and refocus for re-entry into the labour market. It will target those individuals who are motivated to self-manage their learning.
Dáil Éireann 672 Written Answers. FÁS Training Programmes.