Business Spokesperson, Billy Kelleher TD has said that Irish SMEs are falling behind their multinational counterparts in terms of upskilling and training their staff, and unless this is addressed, their competitiveness will be severely damaged.
Deputy Kelleher was commenting as Skillsnet Ireland, the national agency charged with the promotion and facilitation of workforce learning, warned against the low take up of training opportunities by Irish SMEs.
“There is a serious concern that SMEs, which account for 91% of all companies in Ireland, will become less and less competitive. The net result of poor competitiveness is job losses.
“Skillsnet Ireland has revealed that in 2017, just 6% of Irish SMEs accessed its services. With technological disruptions emerging every day in the world of business and agriculture, Irish SMEs need to keep their staff up to date.
“Multinationals and Foreign Direct Investment are a core part of Irish industrial strategy, but we need our indigenous enterprises, and in particular, our SMEs to keep pace with them. They rely on each other.
“If SMEs and their staff do not have the skillset needed to provide the services large MNCs need, these foreign companies will look elsewhere, and that would be a very dangerous development.
“The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation needs to jumpstart its outreach to SMEs and ensure that they have the skillsets required to compete on a global basis,” concluded Kelleher.