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Apprenticeship Programmes

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 30 June 2020

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

Ceisteanna (222, 223, 237)

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

222. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the provisions being made to continue the education of apprentices that had started their courses in view of the restrictions on attending courses and or practical experience; if theory modules and exams can be conducted through online formats; if learning management systems will be provided for home learning; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13493/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

223. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills the provisions which will be made for continued payment of apprentices that still have phases of their programme to complete but may have already received payment for the full phase previously (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13494/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Martin Heydon

Ceist:

237. Deputy Martin Heydon asked the Minister for Education and Skills if additional places for apprentices or supports for employers considering taking on more apprentices can be considered for 2020 in view of an increased level of demand and the ongoing need for skilled trades; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [13581/20]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

The Department of Education and Skills, SOLAS and the education and training providers are actively working to put in place alternative learning and assessment solutions for all apprentices, while maintaining the quality and integrity of the apprenticeship programme. 

Alternative assessments for theory components of those craft apprenticeship programmes which were due to be completed in March this year have been delivered.  Planning is underway to support the delivery of training and remaining practical assessments within health and social distancing guidelines once public health considerations provide for the return to training for this cohort of learners.

The issue of the timing of that return is under consideration at the current time in the overall context of the reopening of the education sector.  Training allowances will generally be payable in cases where apprentices are required to recommence an off-the-job phase of their apprenticeship training due to the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on their original phase.

The impacts of COVID-19 on apprenticeship intake will be considered as part of the overall recovery plan.  A new action plan for apprenticeship which will be a successor to the Action Plan to Expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship (2016 – 2020) is due for completion in 2020 and will seek to deliver on the target of 10,000 registration per annum by 2025 as set out within the Programme for Government.  

In the meantime SOLAS will continue to provide ongoing updates for apprentices and employers in relation to the impact of Covid-19 on apprenticeship programmes. These may be found at www.apprenticeship.ie and also on Twitter @apprenticesirl. 

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