Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Questions (278)

Maurice Quinlivan


278. Deputy Maurice Quinlivan asked the Minister for Education and Skills the total fee contributions, that is, annual student contribution, of apprentices in both higher education and consortia-led contexts; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22032/19]

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Written answers (Question to Education)

An Annual Student Contribution (ASC) is levied on all students attending Institutes of Technology (IoTs).  Previously this ASC was paid by FÁS/SOLAS with apprentices themselves paying the part of the contribution relating to examination fees. As part of Budget 2014, SOLAS ceased making payments to IoTs and apprentices pay the full pro rata ASC.

The amount charged to apprentices undertaking both craft and new consortia led apprenticeships is calculated on a pro rata basis of the time which they spend in Institutes of Technology (IoTs) during the academic year.  These arrangements mean that apprentices are treated the same, on a pro rata basis for the proportion of a full academic year they spend in IoTs, as full time students in terms of the ASC.  For craft apprenticeships, the cost would typically be one third of the €3,000 ASC paid by students attending for the full academic year and so amounts to approximately €1,000 per apprentice per period spent in the IoT.  In the case of the new consortia led apprenticeships the contribution varies for each programme as their off-the-job training has a more flexible structure.  In cases where training is delivered in an Education and Training Board there is no contribution made by the apprentice.  Further detail on these charges is available on the website apprenticeship.ie.

It should be noted that, unlike full time students, apprentices in the craft trades are paid a training allowance by SOLAS for phases of their training spent in IoTs.  Apprentices in the new consortia led apprenticeships are paid by their employer for phases of their training spent in IoTs.