I propose to take Questions Nos. 77 and 79 to 81, inclusive, together.
As Minster for Business, Enterprise and Innovation I am very interested in the development of an efficient and effective apprenticeship system that serves the needs of both enterprise and apprentices. I fully support the development of the apprenticeship system on an ongoing basis as a means of providing for the broad range of skills needed for the growing economy.
I am fully aware of the financial implications for business in taking on an apprentice and of the difference in the funding models between the pre-2016 apprenticeships and the newer post 2016 apprenticeships.
However, my Department does not hold policy responsibility for the apprenticeship system, as this lies with the Department of Education and Skills and the Apprenticeship Council and operational responsibility in this area lies with Solas, Ireland’s further education and training authority. Therefore, the initiation of reviews and other policy matters relating to apprenticeships lie with the Minister for Education and Skills.