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Newcomers to Ireland: an evaluation of the challenges facing Irish organisations in the management of their multicultural workforces in terms of training and development

By Mary Williams Prendergast

Abstract

Inward migration is a relatively new phenomenon for Ireland. The improvement in the Irish economy, which has resulted in an influx of non-Irish nationals, has changed the face of employment in Ireland today. Diversity in the workforce embraces many different dimensions including race, national origin, and language, but heretofore cultural differences have not impacted significantly on strategies in relation to learning and development within Irish organisations. Now these organisations have to confront the complex issues faced by other multicultural organisations, and strategies to ensure the successful development of staff have had to take culture into account. The research question explored the challenges facing Irish organisations, focusing on the issues of integration, language acquisition and learning and development with diverse cultures and in different organisations. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with employers, employees, Trade Union and Regulatory bodies. Non-Irish employees were also asked for their views in a postal survey.\ud The results indicated that there is a paucity of research on the issue of learning and development for non-Irish workers in an Irish context and while Irish organisations and Government bodies are grappling with other management issues, learning and development is not seen as a priority. Most training is provided in English and is legally required. Irish trainers it appears have little understanding of cultural differences in learning styles. Guidelines should be developed and presented at national level to coordinate all integration strategies and provide valuable advice for organisations regarding the development of their multicultural workforces. Organisations should also re-consider their attitudes to the learning and development strategies that are currently in place for their non-Irish workers. Although Ireland is new to the immigration experience, we now have an opportunity to examine management strategies from other countries, avoiding their mistakes while adopting their positive models of good practice

Publisher: University of Leicester
Year: 2009
OAI identifier: oai:lra.le.ac.uk:2381/4810

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