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The SKILL (Securing Knowledge Intra Lifelong Learning) Programme was established in 2003 to address the education, training and development needs of 32,000 support staff and support service managers in the Irish Health Services. The initiative arises from an industrial relations agreement between the Department of Finance, Department of Health and Children, Health Service Executive (HSE) and the trade union SIPTU. The SKILL Programme provides a wide portfolio of initiatives, its main functions and responsibilities are to:
(i) Continue to develop FETAC accredited programmes.
(ii) Enable support staff to up-skill and in doing so progress the "skill mix" requirements of the health services having regard for workforce planning needs and service developments/improvements.
(iii) Provide 2,000 SKILL programmes places per annum for learners delivered by two main providers.
Other SKILL programme functions include a range of scholarships and grant schemes and an informative website which provides an interactive resource support for support staff and managers.