Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Ceisteanna (158)

Ann Phelan

Ceist:

158. Deputy Ann Phelan asked the Minister for Education and Skills his views on the introduction of a flat rate fee for apprentices attending the various institutes of technology, as part of their apprenticeship (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [11996/14]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Annual Student Contribution is levied on apprentices and students attending Institutes of Technology. This contribution has been levied by Institutes of Technology in respect of apprentices since 2004, with FÁS/SOLAS paying 70% of the contribution and apprentices themselves paying the remainder. As part of Budget 2014, SOLAS will cease making this payment to the Institutes of Technology and apprentices themselves will pay the full pro rata Annual Student Contribution. From January 2014 up to the end of the academic year in June, apprentices will be due to pay €833 (1/3 of €2,500) per typical attendance block of 10 weeks. The exam fee is included in this payment.

Apprentices will pay the same contribution as students, apportioned for the time they spend in the Institutes. Apprentices are not eligible for grants under the Student Grant Scheme as they do not meet the funding condition of participating in an approved full-time course in an approved institution. Unlike students, apprentices are paid a training allowances by SOLAS for phases of their training spent in Institutes of Technology. This allowance is equivalent to the wages they receive from their employers for on the job phases and is unaffected by the budgetary changes.