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SOLAS is the new name of FAS. Regardless of the way the government is trying to paint the picture, FAS is still alive and well. All the staff are safe, all the decision makers and all the way to the Board of Directors in FAS. The internal organisation is to change a bit, but in essence same people that made FAS what it is, and you have probably made your mind up about that, these same people are automatically now all safe in their jobs in SOLAS. Same desks, same offices, same jobs, just a change of the logo and the name. Probably a nice gig for some marketing and rebranding agency.

From the recruitment perspective FAS was a failure. Statistics are showing that job seekers that got the FAS training were less likely to get a job than those that didn’t. When I first saw it, it seemed unbelievable. A Government agency managing to achieve the opposite from what is its main goal. Like a Department of Finance that works successfully on bringing the country to the bankruptcy. Not a good example?

FAS staff cannot be fired basically. Regardless of the company performance. Now how cool is that? Imagine working in an average Irish SME that does not make any revenue, any service, any product, and profit. And all your co-workers have a safe job in the company. You go bankrupt, they just change the name on the front door. And keep on doing (or not) what you always was. Wonderland? Communism? was set up as a web site where every Irish company could advertise their jobs, and job seekers could find them. In the time that was ‘operating’, there was a long list of private companies that realised how well FAS operates. They took that role and delivered a great service to Irish Employers and job seekers for many years. From Irish Times on Friday, to, and of course not to forget! 

With FAS being repainted with SOLAS colours, should we expect that their new web site will actually provide a service was built for? Same people, same (no) agenda and a new colours, is there a reason to expect a different results? Well know. And this is what hurts me. FAS (oops, SOLAS since yesterday sorry) was built with a really great idea. A free service (eh,… OK there is an army of people on its payroll paid by taxpayer) that facilitates getting the best available candidates to fill the vacancies in Irish companies. If this task is done right, if he best people available in Ireland is hired for each vacancy that appears, and that done fast, this reduces the recruitment cost and increases the speed. Less overheads for Irish companies, makes them more profitable and hence more competitive internationally. So poor contributed to development of a number of Irish businesses being set up that took the role leave vacant. This created jobs in those companies, and tremendous wealth within a handful of the job site owners. On the other side it made hiring staff in Ireland more expensive for the Irish companies. That in essence made Ireland less competitive as a country to do business in.

Polish or Romanian or people do not speak English, are not that well educated according to the IDA presentations shown worldwide. At least that is what we thought until Poles cone over here and showed us who they really are and how their work ethics compare to ours. So when Poles introduced a Corporation Tax similar to ours, and Romanians introduced their equivalent of our PAYE and PRSI with a discounted rate for the IT and similar attractive workers – our loved multinationals started migrating there. And shutting down operations here. What is the message? We are too expensive. We are too inefficient. If you have ever been into a FAS HQ or any other building, you know exactly what I mean.

The ‘new’ should be a free web site that works for every employer and every job seeker in Ireland. It sounds too simple that anyone could even think it can fail. Then again only a month ago the release of the Governments internship web site, with jobs advertised where the application process requires a printed resume and a form to be filled and posted to the employer. In this century? Internships are for graduates or young people without anything to put on their CV anyway. They are unemployed, so what do they put on their CV? Their interest in painting and GAA? They live on Facebook (just in case you did not know!). They do not ‘get’ this old technology, the printers and paper CVs. They do not even wear wristwatches. They wear headphones. As a fashion statement more than anything. Signed by Dr Dre. Worth a monthly wealth care payment even in this country.

The more I think of it, the benefits a new would bring to all of us, to the nation, and to the EURO currency in that matter since we are seriously destabilizing it lately, the more I think how I would like to do it. Do it right. Not the way. Not the (same) SOLAS way. But right. So that it helps put this 14% of us back to work. So that it helps us get staff into all those vacancies almost every good company has today, and finds it terribly hard, slow and expensive to fill. Yes I do want that job! It would make me feel I do something good for my country, for the future and for my kids essentially.

I have spent my last two years making the best Irish Recruitment Agency making even better in the Internet space. I can proudly say I made CPL a market leader in sourcing candidates online on their numerous web sites. It felt great, and the sense of achievement to bring a company you work for to the top is irreplaceable.

The chance to do it with or whatever the new site will be called, to make a best recruitment web site for the whole nation, especially today when it’s needed so badly, would be the best I can wish for.

Hey FAS people, will you let me create and run your online presence?

Kind Regards,
Ivan Stojanovic
Head of Online

By Ivan |

Ivan A. Stojnanovic
Founder of Portal Ltd.
MD of and

3 replies on “SOLAS”

When they came forward with the name Solas they had not aquired the website
I would love to know how much they had to pay for it. I also find it hard to believe in this day and age that they could not come up with a name that they could aquire the .com, .ie and .whatever

@peter This is what reads like today:

This website has been reserved for the new further education and training authority SOLAS (Seirbhísí Oideachais Leanunaigh agus Scileanna) and is currently being developed.

For information on further education and training courses, you can go to or or contact your local Vocational Education Committee (VEC).

For information on the Solas Project and the Centre for Health Informatics, please see

And interesting message from the marketing perspective, wouldn’t you agree?

Re. Fas & Solas
Ten years ago I had a work accident which meant I was no longer able to do what I was trained for.
After 3-4 years of painful physio I was judged by social welfare to have ” only ” a 30% disability.
As I was no longer able for physical work I decided it was time to retrain.
I could not even turn on a computer so I applied to fas for a basic/introductory computer training course. I live in a rural town which the fas rep only visits twice a month for 2hours.
I met a very helpful lady who told me that as I was on an invalidity pension, I would be a priority case & would be fast-tracked for any training starting with basic, then ecdl, then any course I wished, programming, web, network etc. 11 years ago. 2001.
I waited eagerly for 6 months.
Heard nothing. Went back. Met a new gentleman who informed me that the 1st lady was sick, on indefinite leave & that he would be handling things. He then proceeded to tell me that my name was not on any course list & even better that I was not even registered with Fas!
I re-registered, applied for the same 6 week course again & waited for another 6 months.
2nd time I met him, He had a very hostile attitude, telling me that my name was down, I was on the new list & I should not be pestering him.
I became a little animated, told him that I was a priority, that I couldn’t wait another year.
He then asked me if I wanted to be “a secretary or what”. ( At the time I was in my early 30s, fit apart from my injuries. He was mid 50s, very overweight, soft hands, wearing big thick gold signet bracelet ). I informed him that I would give him “or what” with my good fist, at which point I was asked to leave.
Lo & behold, 2 weeks later I got the call. I did the 6 week course no problem. Very basic stuff. At the start we were informed that everyone who wished, after the 6 weeks, could progress to the ECDL course.
At the end of the 6 weeks we were told that 3 names would be picked out of a hat for the next course, & that the rest were guaranteed to be called within 3 months.
Two years later I was still waiting so I decided to give 3rd level a try. I did 3 years Construction Studies in CIT which I enjoyed & did well at. However, because of my disability I could not properly use a land surveying instrument so that particular lecturer failed me, which meant that I failed the entire course, wasting 3 years of time, effort, study & money.
I spent the last couple years licking my wounds & thankfully this year I regained my focus & became interested in retraining again. I turned 44 this year & I know if I can’t get the ball rolling now & keep it going, I might not get another chance.
So armed with the knowledge that there has been “sweeping” changes in FAS/SOLAS I decided to give it another go.
I approached the new twice a month rep in this town & applied for a starter programming course which has a follow on pathway.
Again my name was put down.
Again I was registered.
She told me not to contact her again, that she is handling things.
Again after hearing nothing for 3 months I went back.
She told me that course is full with a long waiting list, that even though I am a “priority”, I am at the bottom. she tried to convince me to do another course in another programming language, which is not as widely used these days. Not knowing any better I agreed.
The following week I met another person from FAS, at an adult education exhibition.
I explained my story & he informed me that the 1st course is not full, that they have a panel of names, all of whom submit to an apptitude test & he put me on the list.
More importantly, he told me that the course that I was advised to do may not even go ahead due to lack of numbers. The same course that I was told to do.
If I hadn’t accidentally bumped into him at the exhibition, I WOULD BE STILL WAITING, NONE THE WISER!!!
Now a fas course mightn’t sound like much to some, but to me it is a fresh start, a way out, a baby step to restarting the climb up the ladder. A light at the START of the tunnel!
If I get the course I will be delighted. If I don’t do well at the apptitude test, fair enough, at least I will have got a fair crack of the whip.
What annoys me is these people who THINK they are pulling the wool over our eyes & yes they are getting away with it.
& yes a National Training Authority is a super idea on paper, but renaming it Solas or anything else, does not cover all the cracks.
And I’m sorry, but all the marketing & cosmetic tricks in the world do not cover the fact that it is still a rotten organisation.
A great pity because many of their courses are very good, both content & delivery, but there is still a stigma attached to the organisation.

Despite my setbacks I am a great believer in people retraining, upskilling & life-long learning, people furthering themselves through education.
However it boils my blood when I hear politicians, media types etc. bandying those terms about, when the reality on the ground is that it can be very difficult for some people to gain access to proper, relevant, useful education.

Apologies for being a bit long winded about this but it is something that I feel very strongly about.

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