Training Fund Levy must be used to help indigenous entrepreneurs and employees – not as a third-level slush fund.

The Training Levy paid by employers through their PRSI contributions into the National Training Fund (NTF) increases to 1% from this month.This comes at a time when projections for 2020 show that it will approach a cumulative surplus of one billion euro by the end of the year. At a time when domestic job creation is stagnating, running this level of surplus in the NTF is completely unacceptable.
The aim of the NTF is to raise the skill levels of those in employment, to give job seekers relevant labour market skills, and to facilitate lifelong learning. It further aims to provide information in relation to the current and future skills needs of the economy. It was never intended to finance the University sector, other than those activities of the third level sector which fulfill NTF objectives.       

 The OECD’s recently completed report on SME and entrepreneurship policy in Ireland shows substantial shortfalls in skills and productivity in the indigenous industrial sector. These must be urgently addressed in the short and medium term as Ireland will become increasingly reliant on its indigenous employers to maintain high rates of employment.  The OECD has provided Government with an 11-point roadmap aimed at closing the skills shortages among our indigenous entrepreneurs and employees. It is essential that the NTF is diverted to fund this effort, and not used as a third-level slush fund.    
Adam Weatherley, ISME Learning and Development Manager added:
‘ISME will launch its formal proposal to bridge the skills gap in Irish SMEs, and we expect that NTF funding from this enormous surplus will be used for the purpose for which the Training Levy was originally intended.’