It was announced today that FAS is to be disbanded and a new new new further education and training authority called SOLAS will be setup.
SOLAS stands for – Seirbhísí Oideachais Leanúnaigh agus Scileanna – which translates in English as something like “Continuing Education and Skills Service” – but that might not have looked too good when shortened to CESS – it might have reminded people of the amount of money that went into that CESS-pit of FAS. Solas also means Light or Beacon in Irish.
SOLAS will operate under the Department of Education and Skills. SOLAS’s role is to try and co-ordinate and fund the wide range of training and further education programmes.
SOLAS is supposed to have a greater focus on training and education programmes which prepare jobseekers and other learners for occupations in growth areas like the services, ICT, medical devices, food and biopharma sectors.
The current FÁS headquarters staff in corporate support functions and senior headquarters and a number of senior regional Training Services Division management will remain on as the staff of SOLAS
The members of the Board of FÁS, who were recently appointed, have been invited to serve out their terms as members of the SOLAS board.
Participants on current FÁS and further education courses will not be affected by the establishment of SOLAS and will continue their courses under the new authority.
The domain name SOLAS.ie is already taken by a network for helping children with cancer. Maybe the government should have thought of that problem before choosing the name.
The Department of Social Protection will take responsibility for other FAS programmes such as the community employment schemes, while further education and training areas will go to the Department of Education and Skills.