Training Links Programme, 2014 - 2016

Programme is now closed to applications. Successful awardees are listed below.

Training Links is an innovative support service developed by The Wheel to enhance the skills and employability of people working in the community and voluntary sector in Ireland. Training Links offers funding opportunities to groups of organisations that choose to come together and work collaboratively to address their shared training needs as a Training Network. Training Links provides grants of between €5,000 (minimum) and €25,000 (maximum) each to successful networks.  
The successful Training Networks are substantially funded by The Wheel (i.e. to a maximum of 80% of total budget costs). Funding comes from the National Training Fund and is available over the period of the programme to develop and implement strategic, innovative and cost-effective training and development solutions for its members, which they would be not be in a position to undertake as effectively on their own. 
In addition to the provision of substantial financial subsidies to the Training Networks - directed at training provision - this programme provides much-needed opportunities for sectoral co-operation and shared learning. 
To date Training Links has supported the establishment of forty-one training networks involving almost 10,000 employees and more than 850 community and voluntary organisations. 

Click here for a list of the Training Networks from earlier Training Links programmes.


Training Links is based on an approach that allows organisations and their staff to decide on their own training needs, and to develop solutions to those needs. Organisations are free to choose the training methods, courses, trainers or priorities that are most relevant to them and have those choices supported to make them happen.  The Wheel provides funding, facilitation, information and advice to assist organisations to deliver the solutions that they feel are most appropriate to their size, area of activity and employee developmental needs. 

2014 - 2016 Training Links Awardees

The Wheel is pleased to confirm that the following 17 networks have been successful in their Training Links grant applications.

35 quality applications were received in all during the submission phase, at the end of which our independent assessment panel made the final decision on the successful awardees.

1.Clare & Limerick Community & Family Training Network
2.Comhlámh Code of Good Practice Network
3.Community Participation Training Network
4.Corporate Fundraising Mastery Network
5.County Longford Social Inclusion Network
6.County Wexford Training Links Network
7.eCASS Learning Network
8.Galway Community Excellence Network
9.North Dublin Social Enterprise Network
10.Our Voices In Europe
Plain English Network
12.SAFE Ireland
13.SCDP Social Enterprise Network
14.Sustainable Living Network Wicklow
15.Volunteer Ireland Training Links Network
16.Water Polo Volunteer Development Network
17.Youth Theatre Training Network

Objectives, Rationale and Approach

The Training Links programme 2014 – 2016 has the following objectives:
  • To promote increased participation in training and up-skilling activities in order to build skills, improve adaptability and long-term employability of those currently working and those hoping to work and volunteer in the sector.
  • To promote and support a cohesive and organisational-led approach to training and learning especially within small and medium organisations, enabling increased awareness of and access to training options through the establishment of Training Networks across the sector.
  • To promote and encourage collaboration within and between networks of members so that ideas, initiatives and best practice in training and development can be identified and shared, resulting in cost-effective and/or innovative solutions to joint training needs.
  • To facilitate the provision of quality customised training by supporting the development of new, or innovative, or flexible training methodologies, in order to deliver more relevant, effective, efficient and user-friendly training solutions.


The Wheel developed the Sector Skills initiative – of which Training Links is one of three elements - based on the recommendations from the first ever sector-wide independent review of training needs in the community and voluntary sector in Ireland, “Training Solutions for the community and voluntary sector in Ireland” (2005).
Further research in 2012 together with the ongoing evaluation of the Training Links programme has resulted in a continuation of the programme. 
There are three main strands within the Sector Skills initiative 
  1. Training Links
  2. Web-based Training and Other Supports
  3. Leadership Development
The Sector Skills Programme is part-funded from the National Training Fund through the Department of Education and Skills. 

What is a Training Network?...

A Training Network is a group of community and voluntary sector organisations that are independently run and governed and who decide to come together to co-operate as a group in order to undertake training that they may not be able to do individually.   
  • The Training network identifies a Network Coordinator (most likely, but not necessarily, a person associated with the Lead Organisation) to co-ordinate network activities and have overall responsibility for the project.
  • The Lead Organisation is the main applicant for the Training Links funding.  It will have overall responsibility for meeting the Training Links Network objectives, co-ordination of network activities for the member organisations listed in the application document, monitoring of progress and targets, and evaluation of all training delivered.  It also holds accountability for all funding received and associated reporting to The Wheel.
  • The Training Network’s member organisations share in the decision-making, design and implementation of training (i.e. training developed by the network members for the network members). This is facilitated through the establishment of the Network Committee to oversee the work of the Network and to guide and support the work of the Network Coordinator. 
  • The member organisations of the Training Network must be stand-alone organisations, independently run and governed.  The full network cannot purely be branches of an organisation. A minimum of ten members is required for eligibility. There is no maximum number of organisations that can be members of a Training Network; however, the network must be a manageable size for the Network Coordinator. 
  • Training Networks may be from the same town or area (regional); may be involved in similar activities (sectoral); or may all be involved in a specific subject (theme).
  • Training Networks considered for this programme can be existing networks within the community and voluntary sector or new networks developed to take part in this programme.