Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Questions (76)

Sean Fleming

Question:

71 Deputy Sean Fleming asked the Minister for Education and Skills the practical arrangements in place to assist unemployed workers from the construction industry to get back into new training courses where they are told that while they may have an excellent track record of work in their particular field for a long number of years because they have no formal certificates they are not eligible to go on many of the new training courses because of the lack of previous formal educational certificates; if he will give practical instructions to assist persons caught in this area; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4419/12]

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Written answers (Question to Minister for Education and Skills)

I understand from FÁS that it is not appropriate to change the entry profile for these type of courses because the nature of the course is built on the learner having prior knowledge as ultimately the graduates from these programmes will work for ordinary house holders and occupants/owners of commercial enterprises. FÁS must be able to stand over the quality of the training that these graduates receive in the context of standards of competence/prior qualifications for safety around, for example, plumbing and live electrical systems and panels. This prior competence needs to be transparent in the form of a recognised qualification.

In that regard recognition of prior learning is a possible option. If the learner was registered with FÁS or ANCO then application should be made to FÁS for recognition of prior learning. However, if the learner was never registered with FÁS then application to FETAC for award determination should be made. In relation to the formal recognition of trade related work experience of the person in question FAS have informed me that those with trade related work experience can validate their competence through the apprenticeship system. To avail of this the person must: 1. Register as an apprentice with a FÁS approved employer; 2. Submit a portfolio of evidence and application for Phase exemptions. No applicant will be awarded a full exemption and all applicants will be required to undertake a minimum of phases 6 and 7.