As set out in the Action Plan to Expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship in Ireland, SOLAS has completed a review on pathways to participation in apprenticeship. The purpose of the review is to ensure that our national apprenticeship system is more reflective of the range and diversity of our population, more inclusive of diverse backgrounds and abilities and that apprenticeship opportunities are more readily accessible to all. One of the areas identified for action was to create new pathways via pre-apprenticeship courses around the country. The actions include targets for additional places on pre-apprenticeship courses and promoting apprenticeship opportunities for target groups.
Work is already underway in many of the areas identified for action and SOLAS in partnership with the Higher Education Authority has engaged with Technological University Dublin to explore potential expansion and supports for the existing Access to Apprenticeship programme. This is due to the evidenced success for learners on the programme and the fact that many participants have now progressed onwards to commencing an apprenticeship.
In addition, in May the Apprenticeship Council held a consultation with 47 employer representatives and other key stakeholders on ‘Generation Apprenticeship – What’s Next?’ The objective of this event was to gather feedback and ideas on the next steps in expansion of apprenticeship nationally. One of the areas identified was the need to expand pre-apprenticeship opportunities. The Apprenticeship Council is now considering this feedback and will incorporate it into its 2020 work with apprenticeship consortia and other key stakeholders.