Skills to Advance Initiative

Working closely with small and medium-sized enterprises, the national Skills to Advance initiative can help you to create a sustainable future for your business by identifying potential skills gaps and offering heavily subsidised education and training to your staff.

Central to the core mission of the Skills to Advance initiative is the focus on agile upskilling to futureproof our workforce in vulnerable occupations, businesses and sectors and to optimise opportunities in emerging areas.

In the last three years, over 35,000 employees have benefitted from upskilling opportunities provided by their local Education and Training Board (ETB) through Skills to Advance. This initiative assists employers to develop new skills in their teams, improve their cost savings, competitiveness and profitability through highly subsidised training.

More recently, Skills to Advance has provided flexible upskilling and reskilling opportunities to develop awareness in sustainability issues and extend career opportunities in the green economy.

Training is mostly delivered in a flexible blended learning format designed to fit around your employee’s working hours.


Green Skills Micro-Qualifications

Designed to boost awareness of the key environmental sustainability issues that affect employers and employees, Green Skills micro-qualifications programmes equip companies with the skills to make a positive contribution to sustainability in the workplace.

These courses have been developed under the Skills to Advance initiative, which provides subsidised upskilling for companies and those in employment, funded by SOLAS, the State agency with responsibility for Further Education and Training (FET).

Delivered in a blended learning format, courses are short in duration and aim to expand opportunities in the emerging green economy, with current courses provideed by the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) across the country at QQI levels 4-6 including:

      • Environmental Sustainable Awareness (QQI level 4)
      • Environmental Sustainability in the Workplace (QQI level 5)
      • Lean Practice for Sustainable Business  (QQI level 5)
      • Resource Efficiency for a Sustainable Workplace (QQI level 5)
      • Sustainable Procurement (QQI level 5)
      • Circular Economy (QQI level 6)

The programmes have been created in collaboration with SOLAS, the 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs), Environmental Protection Agency, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, Irish Water, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, and Regional Skills Fora.

Contact your local Education and Training Board to find courses on offer near you.

Contact your local ETB to find out more.

Contact your local ETB


In 2022 there are over 24,000 apprentices completing training, on over 65 different programmes that include tech, property services, biopharma, engineering, construction, logistics and finance, as well as in the traditional craft industries such as electrical and plumbing.

To employ apprentices, you need to be approved as a national apprenticeship employer. Once approved, you can advertise your apprenticeship vacancies on the official Apprenticeship Jobs page.

Register your interest for approval to become a national apprenticeship employer.

If you’re already an approved national apprenticeship employer, you can find out more about joining Apprenticeship Online to advertise your job vacancies, the Apprenticeship Employer Grant or the Gender Bursary.

Find out more at


Traineeships are developed and delivered by your local Education and Training Board (ETB) who work in partnership with industry representatives and employers to identify skills gaps and future skills needs in the local workforce.

Traineeships can give employers access to a pipeline of learners who are developing relevant skills and gaining on-the-job experience in relevant sectors. By tailoring courses to meet local needs, traineeships can improve employment outcomes for the trainees and increase retention and productivity for employers.

New traineeships are developed on an ongoing basis across a range of industries and sectors. As a partner employer, you can help shape future Traineeship courses by identifying skills needs and contributing to the design and content of the programme. Partner employers also provide programme placements to trainees who will gain a minimum of 30% on-the-job experience during the traineeship.

Contact the Further Education and Training Director at your local ETB if you’d like to find out more about becoming a partner employer with your local ETB or to find your nearest Regional Skills Fora.

There are five steps to developing a new traineeship, from identifying a skills need to assess the outcomes of the programme. This process can take between six to eight months.

Guide to Traineeships