Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Justine McCosh from ESB to give some advice for people considering this job:

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Justine McCosh
I think a degree or background in Finance is important. Work experience in the Finance Industry was useful for me to make the move between a banking role and moving to a Group Treasury role in a company, and most of my colleagues have also worked in Investment Banking prior to this.

Enterprising people like situations that involve using resources for personal or corporate economic gain. Such people may have an opportunistic frame of mind, and like commerce, trade and making deals. Some are drawn to sales and marketing occupations. Many will eventually end up owning their own business, or managing a section in larger organisations. They tend to be very goal-oriented, and work best when focused on a target. Some have an entrepreneurial inclination.
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Apprenticeship Training

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Apprenticeship Training

All current craft apprenticeship programmes are of 4 years duration, typically distributed over 7 phases of "on the job" and "off the job" training as follows:

Craft Training Providers

The main providers of off-the-job training are ETB Training Centres and Institutes of Technology. Two Colleges of Further Education also provide these phases.

In practice, much more time than the minimum shown above is spent in the workplace over a 4-year period.

The apprentice is required to follow a specific course of training and to undergo a series of assessments to confirm that the required standards have been reached.    

Video: Women in Trades Network Ireland

New Apprenticeship Training Providers

Off-the-job training provision for the new style apprenticeships in areas such as insurance and financial services is provided through colleges and IOTs. The Insurance Practitioner training, for example, is provided online, through IT Sligo and the Financial Services apprenticeship training is provided through NCI.


Technical Training (Off-the-Job) 

This form of training involves learning practical skills together with the theoretical elements including maths, science, technical drawing (where applicable) and personal development skills. Apprentices will be required to pass a series of Modular Assessments (tests) throughout this training. These will consist of practical tests, short answer and/or multiple choice knowledge tests and coursework assessments. An examination fee is paid to Institutes during phase 4/6.

Practical Training (On-the-Job) 

This form of training is with the employer where the apprentice gets practical training and experience of doing the job. In addition to the skills and knowledge gained, the apprentice will develop competence, confidence and the ability to perform to industrial standards. The apprentice will be assessed on the ability to perform specified tasks to pre-set standards.  


The apprenticeship system is a modular standards-based system generally comprising of 7 alternating phases of on-the-job and off-the-job training and development. These alternating phases of training consist of 3 off-the-job and 4 on-the-job phases. The duration of the 3 off-the-job training phases does not normally exceed 40 weeks.

Exceptions to this are the apprenticeships in Floor and Wall Tiling, which has 5 phases of training and follows the minimum 4-year cycle and Print Media which has 5 phases and follows the minimum 3-year cycle.

The off-the-job phases are delivered by a Training Centre, an Institute of Technology or another approved training provider. The key factor in the delivery of an off-the-job training phase is that it is delivered in a single training environment to ensure the integration of practical training with the necessary theoretical and personal skills. (Links to training course providers are available below)


The apprenticeship cycle is deemed to be complete when the Results Approval Panel approves that the apprentice has successfully achieved the required qualifying standard, completed all of the alternating on-the-Job and Off-the-job phases of her/her apprenticeship and served the minimum apprenticeship period as specified by SOLAS from time to time. An Advanced Certificate Craft (Level 6 on the National Framework of Qualifications) is awarded to successful apprentices.


Phase 2, 4 & 6 training is currently provided by the ETB (formerly FAS) training centres and Institutes of Technology (IOTs).

Phase 2 takes up to 20 weeks. Phase 4 takes 10-11 weeks and Phase 6 is also 10-11 weeks training.

Apprentices are assigned to a training provider by SOLAS. Apprentices have no choice in where they are sent for the off-the-job training phases of their apprenticeship.

Below is a list of off-the-job training providers for information purposes. 


Phase 2 off-the-job training providers: ETB training centres
Dublin & Dunlaoighre ETB - Baldoyle; Finglas; Loughlinstown; Tallaght.

Baldoyle Training Centre - runs two Phase 2 courses for Construction Plant Fitters twice a year from January to June and July to November.

Finglas Training Centre - currently provides Phase 2 apprenticeship training for Electrical, Plumbing, Sheet Metal Worker, Motor Mechanic and Carpentry & Joinery

Ballyfermot Training Centre

Cavan / Monaghan ETB

CMETB currently delivers Phase 2 Electrical apprenticeship training. FIT ICT apprenticeship training is also delivered here. Upcoming apprenticeship training includes HGV Driver, OEM Engineering Technology and the Accounting Technician Apprenticeship training.

Cork ETB
Donegal ETB
Galway / Roscommon ETB GRETB currently delivers Phase 2 training in Carpentry & Joinery; Electrical; Metal Fabrication; Motor Mechanic at the GRETB training centre in Mervue Business Park.
Kerry ETB
Kilkenny / Carlow ETB
Longford / Westmeath ETB LWETB delivers Phase 2 training for specific trades at Athlone Training Centre.
Louth /Meath ETB LMETB delivers apprenticeship training for Carpentry & Joinery Electrical; Metal Fabrication; Motor Mechanics; Pipefitting Plumbing; Toolmaking; and Wood Manufacturing & Finishing at the Regional Skills Training Centre in Dundalk.
Waterford / Wexford ETB WEETB Waterford and Wexford Training Centres deliver a variety of apprenticeship training courses.
Phase 4 & Phase 6 off-the-job training: Institutes of Technology and Further Education Colleges*
  • AIT 
- Department of Engineering Trades - click here
  • CIT 
- Trade Apprenticeships - click here
  • DIT 

- Apprenticeship training in the designated trades - click here

- Information on Electrical Apprenticeship - click here

  • DFEI*
- Apprenticeship training in the Designated Trades - click here
  • GMIT
 - Apprenticeship Education courses - click here
  • ITB 
- Apprenticeship Training - click here
  • IT Carlow 
- Apprenticeship Courses - click here
  • IT Tralee 
- Engineering Apprenticeship - click here
  • LIT 

- Craft Apprenticeship Training - click here 

- New Industrial Electrical Engineer 


For those interested in being trained as an apprentice, towards ensuring that you are in with the best possible chance of being accepted for an apprenticeship when an opportunity arises - there are a number of Further Education Courses available which are designed to equip participants with the initial skills needed for the particular apprenticeship area. These are called pre-Apprenticeship training courses:

Approved Course Providers

DIT offers a two-year Level 6 course in Building Management in which participants develop some of the skills offered through apprenticeship such as bricklaying, plastering, painting and decorating See DT170 here.

Training for the new occupational apprenticeships ranges from Level 5 to Level 9 on the NFQ.  A Level 5 HVG Driver apprenticeship will be available through the Irish Road Haulage Association for example, or a Level 9 (Master's) apprenticeship as an Executive Chef will be available through the IT Tralee School of Culinary Arts. 

With the exception of Print Media which is 3-years, Traditional craft apprenticeships are four years in duration, irrespective of the volume or depth of learning involved. The duration of the new apprenticeships varies, depending on the degree of difficulty involved in meeting the set learning outcomes for the particular apprenticeship programme.

64% of the proposed new apprenticeships have a duration of between two and three years. 28% are between three and four years while 8% of the 25 apprenticeships have a duration of four years.

The new apprenticeships currently under development will have both on-the-job and off-the-job training phases, similar to the traditional apprenticeship model.

Example: The training structure of the new General Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship is as follows:

Duration: 3 years 

Qualification: BA (Hons) Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship – Level 8 NFQ 

Training Provider: IT Sligo/The Insurance Institute 

Commencement date: September 2016 

Outline: Apprentices undertake insurance qualifications, delivered by The Insurance Institute, as well as business and accounting modules from IT Sligo.

Off/On the Job Phases: The structure of the off-the-job programme involves six 15-week semesters, each consisting of three modules. This is combined with on-the-job learning delivered through full-time employment with an insurance company. 

Off-the-job learning delivery will be a blend of online lectures, online discussion/engagement and face-to-face teaching with provision for group sessions per semester. Typically this will result in one day a week study release for the apprentice, in the employer’s premises, away from the desk. 

As semesters are 15 weeks apiece, the apprentice will have fewer study hours during the summer period and will have more to time to learn practically on-the-job.

Useful Links
Women in Trades Network Ireland - WITNI 
WITNI is a place where you can ask questions and be exposed to stories from female professionals and apprentices within the industry. Where you can discover more about training and employment options that currently exist