News & Events

Government commits to responding to skills needs for trading firms after Brexit

Government report identifies skills needs for Irish-based businesses dealing with a more restrictive trading environment after Brexit

Study identifies potential demand for skills in the internationally trading firms and the Freight Transport, Distribution & Logistics sectors

8 recommendations to enhance the pool of trade-related skills available to enterprise

Dublin, Ireland, June 14 The Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD, and the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, today (14th of June) launched a new report by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) on Addressing the Skills Needs Arising from the Potential Trade Implications of Brexit.

This report, which focusses on Irish-based enterprise, forms part of the whole-of-government response to the UK’s decision to leave the European Union. It identifies the potential skills needs of internationally-trading businesses and the main occupations in the wider Freight Transport, Distribution and Logistics (FTDL) sector. The aim of the exercise is to mitigate the impact of a Hard Brexit scenario and avail of any opportunities that arise within the scope of the study.

The report deals specifically with those skillsets required for enterprise to navigate a potentially more restrictive trading environment vis-à-vis the UK (e.g. customs clearance, logistics, supply chain management), and to facilitate the diversification of trade to non-UK markets (international management, sales, marketing, design and development, foreign languages, cultural awareness).

The study was informed by a comprehensive consultation exercise with enterprises and key informants across five internationally trading sectors (agri-food, health life sciences, technology, high value manufacturing, construction products and services), and logistics and supply chain activities on the likely impact of Brexit on their business. The report also examines:

  • Responses to Brexit to date elsewhere within the EU-27, as a source of policy learning for Ireland;
  • The likely demand for logistics and supply chain roles under a number of Brexit related scenarios; and
  • Current education and training provision relevant to international trade, as well as logistics and supply chain activities.

Drawing on this research and analysis, the report makes eight recommendations, with 46 associated sub-actions, directed towards enhancing the pool of trade-related skills available to Irish-based enterprise, and hence their resilience in the face of Brexit. These actions, which are both short and longer term in nature, were developed by a broadly based Steering Group established to guide the progress of the study. This group was representative of key internationally trading and skills development stakeholders from across the public and private sectors.

Launching the report, Minister Humphreys said:

“This report by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs is a timely and important contribution to the evidence base on Brexit and the Government’s wider contingency planning. As a Government, we are working hard to ensure that our enterprise base can effectively respond to Brexit through enhancing its capacity to compete, innovate and trade. It goes without saying that this will require enterprises to have access to the appropriate skillsets. This report highlights the impact Brexit will have on enterprises across all sectors, and how it will increase the need for skills in areas such as customs clearance, logistics, supply chain management, financial management, and for diversifying trade into new markets. My officials will now engage with the stakeholders identified in the report to progress the EGFSN’s recommendations, and the preparedness of businesses for the challenges of Brexit.”

The Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton said:

“As Minister for Education and Skills, as well as Chair of the National Skills Council, I welcome this Expert Group on Future Skills Needs report as a vital contribution to the Government’s preparations for Brexit. The National Skills Council is tasked with prioritising skills needs related to strategic national challenges, and securing their delivery through the education and training system. Drawing on the findings of this report, the Council, my Department, and the wider education and training system will do all it can to support the preparedness of the enterprise base to ensure it can effectively diversify its trade, and navigate a potentially more complex trading environment vis-à-vis the UK. We have, for example, a Foreign Languages Strategy, which I launched at the end of last year. This key strategic policy includes targeted measures to improve fluency and increase the number of languages taught.”

Chairperson of the Expert Group on Future Skills Need, Tony Donohoe, said:

“This Expert Group on Future Skills Needs report, commissioned by the Government to inform its skills response to Brexit, was informed by a comprehensive research exercise across the international trading and logistics and supply chain sectors. This engagement has informed a set of recommendations for addressing the diverse skills needs identified in the study, and which, as the report highlights, will require the full commitment and collaboration of all stakeholders in the economy for their successful implementation. As well as the important contribution to be made by the State and its enterprise agencies, industry itself will also have to ensure a proactive approach to enhancing its preparedness and resilience from a skills perspective. The EGFSN welcomes the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation’s intention to formally pursue the implementation of the report’s recommendations”.

The full report: Addressing the Skills Needs Arising from the Potential Trade Implications of Brexit is available on the website of the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs ( and the website of the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (




Launch an intensified industry awareness and outreach campaign to enhance understanding amongst internationally trading and FTDL enterprises and to proactively address the skills needs arising from Brexit.


Introduce additional customs awareness and higher level customs clearance training and advice for third country trading as the implications of Brexit become clearer.


Enhance the provision of financial management advice, training and mentoring for internationally trading enterprises, with a particular focus on currency management, VAT for third country trading, and contract management.


Undertake targeted campaigns to attract skilled personnel from overseas.


Promote measures to enhance the ability to diversify trade with non-UK markets.

  • Enhance international trading and Logistics/Supply Chain content in education and training provision
  • Build up Ireland’s foreign language capability for international trade (particularly with Eurozone markets)
  • Enhancement of intercultural awareness and international business experience
  • Build up product design and development skills


Establish a National Logistics and Supply Chain Skills Group, to manage a coordinated response from the Logistics and Supply Chain sectors to promote the sectors and their skills needs.


Develop a schools/communication toolkit and awareness raising campaigns for Logistics, Supply Chain and Transportation careers across all sectors, and an improved understanding of the cross sectoral skills needs, employment numbers and career opportunities in supply chain activities


Support the development, and promote the rollout of and engagement with the Logistics and Service apprenticeship programmes.



Further information

Contact Expert Group on Future Skills Needs at

Contact Press Office, Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation at

Contact Press Office, Department of Education and Skills at


About the EGFSN

The Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) advises the Irish Government on the current and future skills needs of the economy and on other labour market issues that impact on Ireland’s enterprise and employment growth. It has a central role in ensuring that labour market needs for skilled workers are anticipated and met.

The Strategic Policy Divison within the Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation provides the EGFSN with research and analysis support.

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) plays a key role in implementing the Government’s policies of stimulating the productive capacity of the economy and creating an environment which supports job creation and maintenance. The Department also has a remit to promote fair competition in the marketplace, protect consumers and safeguard workers.


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