16 new Education and Training Boards have been established and will now replace the 33 Vocational Education Committees (VECs), announced the Minister for Education and Skills, Ruairí Quinn TD. The reform is set to save somewhere in the region of €2.1m by reducing the number of Chief Executive Officers in line with the number of bodies.

Commenting on the new ETBs, Minister Quinn said: “Today marks a new era for education and training in Ireland. The new ETBs will strengthen locally managed education and enhance the scale of local education and training. This represents a major component of the public service transformation agenda. At a time when the need for training and reskilling has never been more important, it is crucial to provide appropriate programmes and courses that offer students and learners the best opportunities to progress. We must do all of this while providing value for money to the taxpayer.”

The reform also paves the way for new provisions that will provide for the establishment of SOLAS, the dissolution of FÁS and the transfer of training functions to the newly formed Education and Training Boards,

The new ETBs will consist of 21 members including 12 local authority representatives, 2 staff representatives, 2 parents’ representative and 5 members from bodies representing community/business interests. Existing VEC members will remain on until the next local elections.

The ETBS will be required to publish strategy statements and will have a streamlined annual planning process. They will be permitted to jointly operate education facilities with other bodies and, could be required to establish a school or other training institution, on request of the Minister.

In line with the reform, the Irish Vocational Education Authority will change its name to Education and Training Boards Ireland (ETBI) and will be responsible for representing the ETBs and promoting their interests.