Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (366)

Kathleen Funchion


366. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the estimated cost to remove apprenticeship and PLC course fees. [31667/19]

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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 is calculated on a pro rata basis of the time which they spend in IoTs during the academic year.  For craft apprenticeships, this 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. 

Based on projected apprenticeship provision in higher education institutions, apprentices or their employers will make up to €6.6 million in ASCs in 2019. If the arrangement in place prior to Budget 2014 arrangement were to be reinstated, where the apprentices paid the proportion of the ASC deemed to relate to examination fees, the total cost of not charging the ASC to the State would be €4.8 million in a full year. 

The only centrally determined payment for the Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) programme is the €200 PLC participant contribution. This amount is not payable by persons with a medical card, as well as a number of other categories, which means that approximately 60% of PLC participants do not pay the contribution. The estimated cost to remove the PLC participant contribution is in the region of €2.4 million.