IrelandSkills Live (RDS Simmonscourt, 21 – 23 March 2019) is a new initiative aimed at addressing the skills shortage in Ireland across all industry sectors. The objective is to tackle head on the negative perceptions students, their parents – and in some cases their teachers and career advisers – have about apprenticeships or skills as a future career pathway. Negative perceptions range from poor pay and poor working conditions to a lack of job satisfaction. While all industry sectors are covered, Building Services News Editor Pat Lehane caught up with Donal Keys, Head of Construction Skills, DIT at the recent Mansion House launch to talk specifically about building services and construction.

Irelandskills live 2019 — Changing the perception of skills and craft apprenticeships

Pat Lehane January 8, 2019 , , , ,

Donal Keys, Head of Construction
Skills, DIT with Pat Lehane, Publisher
& Editor Building Services News, during
an interview at the IrelandSkills Live
launch in the Mansion House.


What’s different about IrelandSkills Live?
There can be nothing more empowering than a real face-to-face opportunity that allows students, parents and teachers to experience the realities that so many of our apprenticeships and skills can offer. IrelandSkills Live will do just that, in a dynamic and exciting format of skills demonstrations, testimonials, presentations and one-on-one interface/discussion opportunities.

For years we have been producing the world’s best in plumbing, engineering, electrical, joinery etc and, while we have done exceptionally well at the WorldSKills Competitions, the general public in Ireland know little or nothing about our achievements. From now on we are going to show off our talents and, going forward, IrelandSkills Live is going to be the main showcase opportunity for all skills in Ireland.

What will the event entail for visitors?
Visitors to the event will have the opportunity to experience three days of competitions in the IrelandSkills National Competition when the cream of Irish craft trades, skills and apprenticeships will be on view live to thousands of school students, parents and their teachers.

They will see, probably for the first time, trained apprentices and students competing head to head against each other, and against the clock, for up to 21 hours in a bid to win the most coveted prize of them all, the Minister of Education & Skills’ Silver Medal. They will see young people performing live demonstrations of highly-skilled jobs, have an opportunity to try these various skills for themselves, and hear presentations on the Heroes Stage from many of the successful individuals and entrepreneurs whose career paths were shaped by the skills route.

What can they expect from the event?
The experience will undoubtedly prompt them (and their parents) to ask questions like the following:

How does being a plumbing and heating specialist influence/shape the environment?

How does being a refrigeration engineer effect global warming?

How does a building services specialist influence peoples’ well-being and comfort in their homes and workplaces?

How do skills in building services save energy?

Other benefits of the skills route?
Apart from the interesting, exciting and well-paid job/career opportunities, the apprenticeship route means getting paid from day one. What degree course can offer that? Again I suspect students, and their parents, are not mindful of that. Students can enjoy a paid alternative to the academic path, earning while they learn via practical training, study (both online and offline) and hands-on experience.

What impact can IrelandSkills Live make?
IrelandSkills Live will will aim to successfully explain and promote apprenticeships and skills but, even more so, it will create and shape a new mind-set among students and their parents when considering their employment and future career paths. It will unlock new potential by showcasing the real opportunities available to our children, and do so in an exciting, stimulating and dynamic forum that broadens their horizons and outlook.

Ireland has a long-standing tradition of skill in craft and technical know-how, from the Book of Kells to the Collison brothers inventing Stripe. With IrelandSkills Live we are now bringing it all to a new level.

See www.irelandskillslive.ie

You can read more articles like this in our latest issue

Jan/Feb 2019

About the Author:

Pat Lehane