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Apprenticeship Programmes

Dáil Éireann Debate, Wednesday - 13 October 2021

Wednesday, 13 October 2021

Ceisteanna (92)

Holly Cairns

Ceist:

92. Deputy Holly Cairns asked the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science the steps he is taking to increase the uptake of apprenticeships. [49539/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Further and Higher Education)

Apprenticeship is an employer-led offering based on a contract of employment between the apprentice and their respective employer. The number of apprentices in any specific sector is therefore determined directly by employer provision.

The Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme was established to ensure that apprenticeship plays a key part in supporting economic recovery during and immediately following COVID-19 measures. It comprises a €2,000 payment when employers register a new apprentice, followed by an additional €1,000 payment one year later where that apprentice is retained. The scheme has supported the continued recruitment of apprentices over the COVID-19 period, with almost €11m approved for payment in respect of 5,471 apprentice registrations by the first of October.

From the 1st July 2021 access to the scheme has included a requirement to either have published the apprentice vacancy on apprenticeshipjobs.ie or provide a stated rationale for non-advertisement of the post. This facilitates increased accessibility of apprentice jobs and is also providing information on the rationale behind employer decision making on non-advertisement of opportunities. This will support future policy in relation to advertising of apprenticeship openings.

The establishment, funding and success of the scheme is a strong demonstration of both my and the Government's commitment to the development and growth of apprenticeship in Ireland. This growth will be sustained and intensified through the implementation of the Action Plan on Apprenticeship 2021-2025 which sets out a five year pathway to make apprenticeship accessible to employers and learners.

Targeting 10,000 apprenticeship registrations per annum by 2025 the Plan addresses the clear need to broaden the awareness of apprenticeship as a work-based route to internationally recognised qualifications and experience for people of all ages, be they progressing in their career, school leavers or career changers. Growing that message is a key feature of planning for apprenticeship in the coming years.

A new National Apprenticeship Office will make accessing information on, and engagement with, apprenticeship more straightforward for both learners and employers. In 2022 we will launch financial supports for employers of apprentices and the public service will set out a roadmap for the recruitment of apprentices.

Under the Action Plan the impacts of, and outcomes from, existing access to apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programmes as well as other interventions across the sector will be examined to provide an evidence base for best practice and future interventions to deliver an apprentice population which better reflects the general population. Enhanced cooperation with the State's Public Employment Service will also increase visibility of apprenticeship to career changers and job seekers.

Supporting students to make informed choices on future careers, information on apprenticeship and further education and training opportunities will be available on the CAO site from late Autumn 2021. The development of apprenticeship taster courses is also being explored as part of Transition Year and Senior Cycle reform with the NCCA.

Under actions set out in the plan, linkages to and from major career guidance and further and higher application resources will drive initial recognition of the range of offerings available to learners across the system. Apprenticeship will also be positioned within career guidance websites and support structures, as a clear route to qualifications and a career in areas of proven skills need for learners of all ages.

Question No. 93 answered with Question No. 37.
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