Minister Harris Speaking at the Graduation of Positive2Work Skillnet funded Retrofitting Training Programme, Nov 2022

Liz Thomas, Skillnet Ireland, Dave Flynn, Skillnet Ireland, Minister Simon Harris, Grainne O’Boyle, Positive2Work Skillnet

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, congratulated graduates of a three-week construction and retrofitting course.

Funded by Positive2Work Skillnet, The East Docklands Local Employment Service Construction Skills and Retrofitting programme in Dublin Port, run by St Andrew’s Resource Centre, focused on helping the long-term unemployed upskill quickly and find gainful employment in the construction industry.

Speaking, Minister Harris said:

“As we aim to become Carbon Neutral by 2030, retrofitting has become a key skill for access to many residential and commercial projects.

“The aim of the programme is to break down barriers between unemployed and employers. I fully believe that the work that happens here is a crucial step towards introducing these learners back into the jobs.

“With an average of 63% gaining employment within the first month of completing this course, I have no doubt there will be a significant appetite for the second round.

“I want to thank the St Andrew’s Resource Centre, as Department of Social Protection, Dublin Port, Skillnet Ireland, Dublin City Council, North East Inner City Taskforce and the Inner City Renewal Group, for all their tireless work on this project, and without whom we would not have been here today to mark this special occasion.”

Jim Hargis, Employment Services Manager at St Andrews Resource Centre, said:

“The success of the project is that it is constantly evolving to ensure it meets local employers’ needs.

“Not only is it a successful, low-cost solution that fulfils the need of taking people off the live register, it puts them into sustainable well-paid jobs in a sector that is crying out for workers.

“Furthermore, it now ensures that they have up to date retrofitting skills that contribute to the green economy. We are extremely proud that the project has built up an excellent reputation with employers in the sector and is now seen as a reliable source of trained labour.

“As employment demand in the sector evolves so too does the skillset we offer our trainees. The trainees go through three weeks of intensive training, which includes all basic operative training including, health and safety.

“They graduate with their training and equipment fully ready to start work the following week and it has been a life changing experience for many of them.”

What are the next steps for clients who complete the Programme?

The intensive course is delivered over a 3-week period and equips participants, with a broad range of qualifications and experience, to work on construction sites. It incorporates two strands: A Construction Skills Certificate and a Green Homes (Retrofitting) Certificate.

Both strands incorporate a placement process and work individually with each candidate to gain employment in the construction sector. The goal of the programme is to start 60% of trainees in employment in the construction sector with the majority of trainees starting work within 4 weeks of completing the course. Some of the companies that hired graduates from the programme include John Sisk & Son, Careys Building & Civil Engineering, Walls Construction, Alufix and Clarke Concrete.

What is the training content of the Programme?

The curriculum is tailored to individual needs and capabilities. The range of modules include:

  • COVID-19 Awareness
  • Infection Prevention and Control
  • Mental Health and Wellbeing
  • Safe Pass
  • Manual Handling
  • Abrasive Wheels
  • Working at Heights
  • First Aid
  • Vehicle Banksman
  • Mobile Elevating Work Platform Training
  • Drilling
  • Insulation Installation
  • Construction/Finishing Skills

Also included is a jobs workshop and interview skills.

Positive2Work Skillnet would like to wish all our trainees the very best in their future endeavours


Positive2Work Skillnet support businesses across all sectors in Ireland as they grow by offering funded training that helps to build a dynamic, upskilled, resilient workforce.

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