Ireland will need an additional 34,000 skilled workers to build the number of houses promised in the government’s 2030 housing plans.
By 2030, around 51,000 craftsmen will be needed to build the 300,000 new homes the government plans to build this decade, which will require around 34,000 newly acquired skilled workers.
Minister for Higher and Further Education Simon Harris said this will require a fundamental cultural change in the way Ireland views trade and do away with the “snobby” attitude towards higher education.
“By 2030, an additional 34,000 people will have to be trained in so-called skilled trades. How will we get there? First, by changing the CAO process.
“This year, when students log into their CAO application for the first time, they see traditional CAO options, continuing education options, and now apprenticeships. That’s the start of the cultural shift that’s going to take place,” Mr Harris told Newstalk this morning.
“It’s too snobbish a system, too elitist a system and too narrow a system. You meet kids and the first question they almost get asked is what college they want to go to rather than what they want to do with the rest of their lives.
“I want everyone in Ireland to have access to higher education, but I’m also telling them that there are different but equal ways of accessing them,” he said.
The minister said his department’s goal is to create a fully integrated third-tier system where there are “multiple avenues for people to get where they want” and “no ridiculous pressure on 17- and 17-year-olds.” 18-year-olds”. You can see it on their faces.”
“That we look at the fact that apprenticeships are at the third level and not just tell people that at length,” said Mr. Harris.
The Department of Social Protection is also working with people who have been unemployed for some time, helping them find construction jobs, he said.
He said “right investment” in higher education would help Ireland’s university rankings reclaim places in the world’s top 100 universities. Mr Harris said €307 million will flow into the sector over the current government’s tenure.
Ireland has a staff ratio of one for every 20 third level students, falling well short of the EU average of one for every 15, Mr Harris said.
“The €307 million will ensure that Ireland’s higher education system is funded at a level roughly equivalent to that of Sweden and some of the best higher education systems in the EU.
“That, in turn, will absolutely take us up the rankings. Proper funding of the education system is crucial but can only be part of the reform agenda,” he said.
The minister said Ireland could have at least two universities in the top 100, but also “all our universities should try to be at the top of something, not just the top 100”.
“We should have universities that want to be specialists in certain areas, world leaders and European leaders.”