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Apprenticeship Programmes

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 28 April 2021

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Ceisteanna (741)

Sorca Clarke

Ceist:

741. Deputy Sorca Clarke asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science if his Department plans to allocate funding to pre-apprenticeship training programmes that work predominantly with early school leavers and offer them a pathway to mainstream trade apprenticeships. [21509/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Further and Higher Education)

Funding for pre-apprenticeship programmes has increased since 2018-2019, with a Pathways to Apprenticeship funding stream within the Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) further education and training programme that targets specific disadvantaged cohorts, including early school leavers, who wish to progress to all types of the apprenticeship programmes, including craft apprenticeships. The overall aim of the PLC Pathways to Apprenticeship Programme is to provide opportunities for learners to gain experience in areas where they are considering undertaking an apprenticeship.

Funding is available within the overall funding allocated to PLC provision. Initial planning data indicates that 813 learners will benefit from this funding in 2021. However, like all FET provision, final numbers taking up places may be affected by Covid restrictions. A pre-apprenticeship initiative is also underway via Technological University Dublin, with their Access to Apprenticeship programme now in its third year. The TU Dublin programme aims to support individuals who have experienced particularly severe social and/or economic barriers to access the apprenticeship route.

SOLAS is also running a second year of a Generation Apprenticeship competition at second level, which is open to those at school, in Youthreach and in Community Training Centres. The competition aims to introduce young people, their families, teachers and guidance counsellors to all of the opportunities available within apprenticeship in Ireland.

In accordance with the Programme for Government, a new Action Plan for Apprenticeship to cover the period 2021-2025 was launched on 19th April.  The Plan promotes access, diversity and inclusion in apprenticeship by offering targeted supports to encourage participation from young people and under-represented groups such as women, those with disabilities and those from ethnic minority backgrounds.  Relevant actions include publishing information on access to apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship courses on www.apprenticeship.ie and labelling these courses clearly with progression routes into apprenticeship clearly identified.

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