09/05/2017

Apprenticeship Council Issues New Call For Proposals

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD, and the Minister of State for Skills, Research and Innovation, John Halligan, have welcomed the opening of a second call for apprenticeship proposals issued by the Apprenticeship Councils.

Employers are being encouraged to come forward with apprenticeship proposals, that will offer participants the skills invaluable to their future growth plans.

The apprenticeships will help exporting companies based in Ireland to scale their business, to grow their exports and to take advantage of the opportunities offered by a global economy. For the apprentice, they will be embedded in enterprises and will get the chance to learn skills and get hands-on experience. It will give young people the opportunity to acquire applied, technical skills within a variety of sectors, and provide a very practical grounding which will stand to them as they move through their career and take advantage of promotional opportunities.

There are currently 27 craft apprenticeships in Ireland, in areas such as construction, engineering and the motor sector.

The recently-published Action Plan to expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship in Ireland sets out how state agencies, education and training providers and employers will work together to deliver on the Action Plan for Education's commitments on the expansion of apprenticeship in the period to 2020. Today's call is a key action in our plan to double the number of annual apprenticeship and traineeship registrations to 14,000 in 120 different schemes by 2020.

Building on a strong tradition of craft apprenticeships, the Apprenticeship Council has made significant progress since 2015 working with consortia in developing proposals made through the first call into new sustainable apprenticeships. 2016 saw the first of these new programmes with the launch of the Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship in September and the Industrial Electrical Engineer Apprenticeship in November.

A further 13 new programmes will get under way this year in various sectors such as medical devices, polymer processing, culinary and financial services.

The second call, announced today, will call for more apprenticeship proposals. The closing date for new Apprenticeship Proposals is 1st September 2017.

Minister Richard Bruton said: "The Action Plan for Education, aiming to make Ireland's education and training system the best in Europe, commits to delivering 31,000 apprenticeship registrations in the period to 2020.

"This will be challenging to deliver, and will require sustained cooperation from employers, engagement from employees and strong support and coordination from the State.

"One of the greatest causalities of the recession were apprenticeships. Enrolment in their career pathway collapsed and fell by over 80%. This closed down an important pathway which is a characteristic element in many of the most successful education systems.

"I have set out my plan to rebuild these traditional pathways; and to also rebuild new apprenticeships in areas where they haven't traditionally existed. We need to rebuild these options into a new robust pathway which will become an attractive and respected option for at least 20% of our school leavers.

"This would see the present apprenticeship system expand significantly, covering all major economic sectors, and doubling enrolments. This will require us to forge a new partnership with employers, both in the public and private sectors.

"To meet the ambitious targets we must continue to develop apprenticeships in new sectors of the economy. By its nature apprenticeship is employer led and I want to encourage employers to engage with the process. This is your opportunity to get support for programmes that address the specific skill needs of your sector."

Minister of State Halligan added: "Building on the knowledge gained from the development of apprenticeships over the last 18 months, the Apprenticeship Council is setting out a clear route to developing a new apprenticeship.

"Employer buy in is critical as the apprenticeship model is dependent on employers taking on apprentices. Employees too have a voice in the process and the apprenticeship system needs to be of the highest quality to support the development of long term sustainable careers."

(MH)

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