Strategy 2021-2023 for the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science

Ministers Harris and Collins launch department's three-year strategy - 8th March 2021

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris and Minister of State for Further Education and Skills Niall Collins have today launched a three-year strategy for the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.

The department received over 130 submissions and has set six overarching strategic goals - talent, innovation, inclusion, international, governance and capacity.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: 

"The department has ambitious goals to reform our higher education sector, to grow our research and innovation system and to develop the skills agenda.

"At the heart of our department is an objective to ensure everyone regardless of their background, age, gender, or address – achieves their best potential, whether that is through education or the workforce.

"The pandemic has also made us confront many of the challenges we face and I believe this department offers a unique opportunity to ensure nobody is left behind as we rebuild and recover."

The strategy sets out the department's ambition to:

  • improve the transition to further and higher education for school leavers
  • implement a new 10-year strategy to improve literacy, numeracy and digital skills to ensure nobody is left behind
  • reform skills training and invest in upskilling and reskilling opportunities in areas of economic growth including in the area of green and digital skills
  • overhaul the Apprenticeship system and develop a new plan to increase apprenticeships to 10,000 every year
  • put in place a sustainable approach to higher education funding
  • introduce new legislation to reform higher education governance
  • undertake a national engagement on research and science and develop a renewed national strategy to succeed Innovation 2020
  • implement a new Access Plan for higher education and review the Student Grant Scheme
  • grow our international reach and position Ireland as a leader in higher education and research
  • support the establishment of Technological Universities across the country to improve access to higher education and to act as anchors for regional and national innovation and growth
  • advance North South co-operation in higher education and research
  • lead the COVID-19 response for the sector to enable higher and further education to respond to and recover from the ongoing crisis

Minister of State Collins added:

"The department has exciting plans to reform the skills agenda including a new Apprenticeship Action Plan, which will set out ambitious targets to increase the number of people participating in the earn and learn model.

"We will also be developing a series of initiatives to ensure our workforce has the right skills in the aftermath of the pandemic and in areas of economic growth."

Jim Breslin, Secretary General of the department said:

"Our further and higher education and research systems represent a critical national asset which can support the future success of our citizens. Our Statement of Strategy identifies how, as a new department working with a vibrant sector, we can make a difference to our country's future. We received tremendous engagement from across the organisation and from external stakeholders in developing our Strategy and we are eager to work with everyone on its implementation."

Download the Statement of Strategy 2021-2023 here (pdf)

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