Minister Quinn signs order to establish SOLAS following FÁS dissolution

The Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn T.D., has signed the Order for the establishment of the new further education and training authority SOLAS. Its commencement brings about the dissolution of FÁS.

The new statutory agency will operate under the aegis of the Department of Education and Skills. SOLAS, in partnership with the 16 new Education and Training Boards, will be responsible for the integration, co-ordination and funding of the wide range of training and further education programmes around Ireland. One of its first tasks will be to devise a strategy for the development of a unified further education and training sector.

“The establishment of SOLAS marks another major milestone in delivering this Government’s ambitious educational reform programme. SOLAS will be responsible for co-ordinating the effective delivery of further education and training so that we can respond more effectively to the needs of those who require up-skilling and those seeking employment,” Minister Quinn said.

“At such a critical time in the recovery of our economy, it is vital that we have an agency that engenders public confidence and addresses skills gaps in our labour force.”

The Minister of State for Training and Skills, Ciarán Cannon T.D., said: “I look forward to working with the SOLAS board and management and other stakeholders to ensure that the new authority meets the needs of learners and the labour market.  SOLAS will play a key role in the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs.”

The board of SOLAS will be chaired by Pat Delaney, the former director of IBEC’s Small Firm’s Association.

The other members are: SOLAS CEO–designate, Paul O’Toole; Bernadette Brady, Director, Aontas: Paul O’Sullivan, DIT: Sean Burke, CEO, Limerick and Clare ETB; Cathriona Hallahan, M.D. Microsoft Ireland; David Barrett, founder of MBCS, an Enterprise Ireland supported export company; Liz Cassidy, consultant and business coach; Patricia Carey, former President Skerry’s Business College, Cork; Darragh J Loftus, Executive Partner-Manager at VMware, a cloud computing company;  Kenneth Whyte, Principal, Presentation Brothers  College, Cork; Cecilia Munro, Principal, Dun Laoghaire College of Further Education and William Egenton, Managing Director, Dromone Engineering, Oldcastle, Co Meath.

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