Tuesday, 24 November 2020

Questions (664, 671)

Rose Conway-Walsh

Question:

664. Deputy Rose Conway-Walsh asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the number of apprenticeships that have been furloughed; the number that have been made redundant as a result of Covid-19; if the introduction of an incentivisation scheme has been considered to encourage firms to take apprentices back on that have been laid-off or furloughed in the form of a return and retain scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38166/20]

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Alan Dillon

Question:

671. Deputy Alan Dillon asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the number of businesses in counties Mayo, Roscommon and Galway that have availed of the apprenticeship incentivisation scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38496/20]

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Written answers (Question to Further and Higher Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 664 and 671 together.

There are 49 apprentices currently recorded as being redundant due to COVID-19, another 111 are recorded as being on temporary lay-off. Apprentices are primarily employees and, in common with other employees, are eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) where they meet the terms of the scheme, including for periods of temporary lay-off. Where an apprentice has been made redundant the relevant Authorised Officer works to support the apprentice, including seeking alternative employment.

Employers are eligible to apply for Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme (TWSS) for apprentices in their employment and 117 apprentices are known to have their employment supported through the TWSS at the current time.

The Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme (AIS) was initially funded under the July Stimulus programme and has been extended to mid-2021. It provides an employer grant of €3,000 for each new apprentice registered between 1st March 2020 and end June 2021. €2,000 of the grant is paid to the employer once the apprentice is registered, and a further €1,000 is paid after one year if the apprentice is still in employment at that time.

The impact of Covid-19 on businesses has resulted in a decrease of approximately 24% in new apprentice registrations for the year to end October (from 5,173 in 2019 to 3,952 in 2020). The introduction of the AIS has supported the recovery of apprentice registrations with September and October showing significant recovery compared to prior months, with October registrations (196) comparable to those of the prior year.

As of the 18th November, 522 employers have had their applications for the scheme approved in respect of 654 apprentice registrations to a value of €1.308m. 63 businesses have availed of the scheme in Galway, 16 in Mayo and 14 in Roscommon.