A new upskilling programme has been launched to help financial services employees who will be impacted in the coming months by redundancies in the banking sector.

As Ulster Bank and KBC prepare to exit the Irish market, the 'Skills Ignite for Financial Services' scheme will support workers who wish to develop in-demand skills and improve employability by providing a selection of training courses.

With total funding of €1 million, the programme is a joint initiative between Financial Services Ireland, IFS Skillnet, the Institute of Banking (IOB) and the five pillar retail banks - AIB, Bank of Ireland, Permanent TSB, KBC and Ulster Bank, in collaboration with Skillnet Ireland.

Director of Financial Services Ireland Patricia Callan said the new programme will help workers to identify and validate existing skills and compare them to current market opportunities.

"It will also offer a range of micro-learning, skills certificates and qualifications to enable individuals to learn about different career options and gain the necessary skills to prepare them for new roles," Ms Callan said.

"In particular, the programme supports continuous professional development via events, thought leadership and other professional development activities to ensure individuals' skills remain current," she added.

Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive Paul Healy said that the new scheme would help banks and their teams prepare for the significant transformations currently under way in the financial services sector.

"By collaborating closely with firms, we are helping the sector to identify the skills of the future, to embrace new technologies and to respond to the ever-evolving needs of customers," Mr Healy said.