Skillnets, the national training agency, trained 10% more people last year than it did in 2011 while the number of training days delivered also rose by 17%.

In its annual report for last year, Skillnets said that the level of training it supported during the year exceeded its targets as it invested €23.9m in developing the skills of over 44,000 people.

Of this €13m was invested from the National Training Fund through Skillnets and €10.9m from companies. The 56 Skillnets' networks across the country delivered 239,000 training days during the year.

The report also noted increases in supports for job-seekers last year, with over 7,000 job-seekers training and reskilling, up over 1,000 on 2011 figures.

86% of Irish companies involved in training programmes said that training helped to fill skill gaps, while 84% of firms said that training was likely to enhance the long-term performance of their business.

''The profile of the Irish labour market will continue to place job retention and creation at the heart of policy imperatives,'' commented Skillnets chief executive Alan Nuzum.

''Given the overhang in the labour force and mismatches of non-transferable skills, there continues to be opportunities for assisting parts of the workforce to re-align career paths,'' he added.