A new report reveals that the strongest demand for skills last year was seen in the construction, professional, ICT, financial and industrial sectors. 

The latest National Skills Bulletin, produced by SOLAS, also found that over one million workers moved within the Irish labour market last year.

SOLAS is the state body with responsibility for funding, planning and co-ordination of further education and training here.

The report showed that job changes were most frequent for professionals, including IT programmers and doctors; skilled trades - electricians and carpenters - hospitality workers, including chefs, waiters, catering assistants and managers, bar staff;, hairdressers, child-minders and sales assistants and operatives working in the construction and storage sectors.

It also revealed that only 4% of those with a third level qualification in 2016 were unemployed, 8% for those with higher secondary or FET levels of education or training and 12% for those with lower secondary level education or less.

Employers continued to source skills from outside the European Economic Area with about 7,700 new employment permits issue last year, a 27% increase on the previous year.

Paul O'Toole, the CEO of SOLAS said that by providing 300,000 further education and training places each year SOLAS is striving to meet the needs of learners, employers and communities. 

"With 21,000 transitions taking place each week there is a constant challenge for SOLAS to meet, anticipate and plan for the rolling skills needs of the Irish labour force," Mr O'Toole said.

The SOLAS CEO said that providing people with opportunities at all stages of their life to improve their skills or engage in further education makes a real, tangible difference to peoples' lives. 

"The 2017 National Skills Bulletin contains much information to help guide public policy and inform our decision making in SOLAS but we must never lose sight of this simplest of all messages: learning works," he added.