National Training Fund surplus must support regional growth

November 25, 2022

Ibec, the group that represents Irish business, is calling on Government to utilise the current surplus of almost €1 billion in the State National Training Fund (NTF) to address skills gaps and support regional growth, as businesses continue to face talent and skills shortages. The surplus is projected to increase to €2.5 billion by 2025. Employers contribute 1% of their payroll to the Fund.

The call comes as industry leaders across the South-East met with the South-East Technological University and the Waterford and Wexford Education and Training Board to inform their new Strategic Plans.  

Andy Crowley, Ibec South-East Regional President, said: “There are potential opportunities for the region's enterprise, education, and training partners to develop new approaches for engagement to respond to specific skills needs of industry in the region. The NTF surplus is an opportunity to enable this, to create a step-change in engagement in upskilling and reskilling, while driving innovation and meaningful collaboration, that would deliver sustainable economic growth in the South-East.

“A mechanism is urgently needed to unlock the NTF surplus. To have such a large unspent surplus at a time when there is a growing skills shortage across key areas, represents a lost opportunity to invest in upskilling, training and education initiatives which is the purpose of the fund. The significant surplus that has accumulated must be put to work to address critical skills needs and drive innovation and growth in the South-East.”