Background to Finuas

In 2007 the Clearing House Group (CHG), which operates under the auspices of the Department of the Taoiseach, requested that a comprehensive study be carried out by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) on the ‘Future Skills and Research Needs of the International Financial Services Industry’. The findings reiterated the need for our education and training provision to ‘provide a greater focus on specialising in a number of selected areas which would support the development of an internationally distinctive competence which is more aligned with a mid to high cost base.’

As a result of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs report, the Clearing House Group asked a Subgroup on Skills, comprising key agencies, government departments and industry representatives, to bring forward immediate action to address the findings. The group developed the key criteria which now forms the Finuas Networks Programme (Finuas).

The strategic intent of Finuas is to upskill current and future employees in this high-potential knowledge-based industry in order to sustain and increase market growth, maximise exports, enhance employment opportunities, enabling it to make a significant contribution to national economic success.

This strategy has two complementary aims. In the shorter term, to sustain existing growth in the industry by immediately upgrading the skills of the current workforce and addressing any current skills gaps. In the longer term, it aims to develop an expanded pool of labour with new capacity in those high-value skills which are necessary to underpin and retain a national competitive advantage.

The model involves co-investment by the State and firms. It has proven to be highly successful in the Skillnets Training Networks Programme since 1999 where the State is working with industry to deliver skills aligned to market needs in a range of sectors and regions. Skillnets was appointed by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment as the managing agent for Finuas. In May 2010 responsibility for the National Training Fund, including Skillnets and Finuas, was transferred to the Department of Education and Skills.