A new initiative is being launched today aimed at retraining individuals who have lost their jobs as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Details of the Skills Connect programme were announced by the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris. 

It is hoped the initiative will assist up to 2,000 people by the end of the year and will be aimed in particular at people in the hospitality, retail and tourism trade who are unemployed. 

The Irish Hotels' Federation estimates that 100,000 people have lost their jobs across the industry already, but it is hoped that some of the job losses will be temporary. 

The Federation says tens of thousands more jobs are at risk as Level 3 restrictions come into effect across the country today for the next three weeks. 

The Skills Connect programme will give participants the chance to reskill and retrain in areas with "employment potential", including cyber security, software programming, digital marketing and customer service. 

The initiative will be offered free of charge through Skillnet Ireland, and will include work placements and employer mentoring. 

"Throughout this pandemic we have been working hard to support our people and our workforce, particularly those of you who have lost your jobs as a result of Covid-19," Minister Harris said. 

"Skillnet Ireland has an excellent track record of working with employers to deliver dynamic reskilling opportunities with work placements and employer mentoring," he added.