Funding opportunities for upskilling and reskilling to support the digital competences of individuals and organizations are available in the form of loans, grants and financial instruments. For the period 2021 – 2026 activities in digital transformation are financed through Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), Horizon, Erasmus+, ERF, and EEA grant schemes. You may find more on the page of the Irish National Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition.
Recovery and Resilience Plan
32% of Ireland’s Recovery and Resilience Plan is dedicated to accelerating and expanding the country’s digital transformation. The plan envisages support to human capital development by providing high-speed broadband connectivity for primary schools and by funding the access to ICT infrastructure for schools. The plan also includes a reform project encompassing four measures designed to support the digital transformation of education in Ireland at all levels (school, tertiary, lifelong learning): (i) a new Digital Strategy for Schools; (ii) a new 10-year Adult Literacy, Numeracy and Digital Literacy Strategy; (iii) a measure to increase by 65% the number of graduates with high-level ICT skills; and (iv) a measure enabling further and higher education institutions to provide more than 20 000 laptops to disadvantaged students. These projects complement each other, mainstream essential digital skills and are aimed at addressing the digital divide and enhancing digital skills overall.
Digital Transition Fund will drive transformative digitalisation of enterprise in Ireland, particularly amongst SMEs. The fund will help companies at all stages of their digitalisation journey – from going online to digitalisation of products and business operations, to using digital technologies to develop new markets and business models. Grants are offered in several categories, like digital discovery, digital process innovation, strategic consultancy, digital marketing capability etc.
National Grand Challenges Programme Fund is a €65 million research fund, funded by grants from the Recovery and Resilience Facility, that aims at developing solutions to key challenges in the areas of Green Transition and Digital Transformation. The fund is coordinated and administered by Science Foundation Ireland. This is a prestigious, high-profile research initiative of national importance that will fund 90 research teams to direct research activity towards pressing societal and economic problems. The National Challenge Fund encourages collaboration between the academic research community, government departments, agencies, enterprises, and societal stakeholders to identify challenges and enable action to address the green and digital transitions.
Skillnet Ireland allocates funding for businesses to understand their digital skills needs and support the upskilling of their staff. All private sector businesses of any size, including sole traders, that are based in the Republic of Ireland are eligible to undertake part-funded upskilling. Businesses can engage with one or more existing Skillnet Networks (e.g., there are four of them providing expertise in the ICT sector, including emerging technologies), which have experience in the chosen sector or region and understand the specific business needs.
Different funding options are also available on the Digital Skills and Jobs platform, you may find a listing for Ireland on this link.