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ETBI General Secretary to Head European Education Employers Body

Michael Moriarty, General Secretary of Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI), was yesterday (14th March) elected Chairman and President of the European Federation of Education Employers (EFEE). The position is highly prestigious and influential as the EFEE represents education employers right across Europe in all levels of education including pre-school, higher education institutions, education councils, ministries of education, colleges, universities and local and regional authority employers’ organisations. The EFEE also acts as the official dialogue partner to the European trade committee for education and EU institutions. In its ‘Europe 2020 Strategy’, The European Commission highlighted that education and training play a key role in helping Europe emerge from the current economic and labour crisis.

“The education sector employs around 15 million people in the EU and represents approximately 7% of the total workforce in Europe,” said Mr. Moriarty, “therefore, the EFEE has a crucial role to play in promoting the best interests of its members at European level. I consider participation in sectoral dialogue at European level hugely important for the Irish education sector, both for what it can learn from and what it can contribute to the sectoral partners. Employers’ engagement with trade unions at European level can highlight common issues and lead to joint resolutions. As President, I hope to bring issues of particular Irish interest to the table in Europe”.

ETBI, Mr Moriarty’s organisation, is the national representative body for Ireland’s 16 Education and Training Boards (ETBs) which replaced the country’s Vocational Education Committees (VECs) in July 2013. The establishment of Education and Training Boards is widely regarded as the most significant overhaul of the Irish educational infrastructure for decades. ETBI (formerly the Irish Vocational Education Association) is a founder member of EFEE which now includes 24 education employer organisations from 16 EU/EFTA countries.

Mr Moriarty is looking forward to his term as President of EFEE and said that one issue he particularly wants to focus on is entrepreneurship training. “Both the European Commission and the Irish government have highlighted the need to foster entrepreneurship training in schools and colleges, and to build entrepreneurship training programmes for teachers. ETBI is already working on another European project (EDISON) which aims to modify and develop successful experiences and strategies in teaching entrepreneurship in other European countries for the Irish education system.” He also highlighted the crucial role of management and leadership in the delivery of the current reforms in vocational education and training required by both national governments and European directives. “There is a need to investigate best practices and strategies to cope with the challenges and competency requirements of these current reforms. This appointment gives me the opportunity to raise these and other issues at European level with a view to developing policies and approaches that will lead to the implementation of such strategies at national level.”

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