The Government has announced funding of €8 million for 10 Institutes of Technology to support an estimated 2,300 additional apprenticeships in 13 different trades.
The Government is committed to more than doubling the number of new apprentices registered to 9,000 by 2020 and expanding further into new areas.
Budget 2018 allocated €122 million for apprenticeship training, an increase of almost 24 per cent on the previous year; this funding will allow the delivery of 10 more apprenticeship programmes and over 6,000 more apprenticeship registrations this year.
The funding will enable the ITs to purchase equipment and carry out other work to enable the delivery of new syllabi in 13 existing apprenticeship trades, in areas including mechanical, automation and maintenance fitting, sheet metalwork, aircraft maintenance, brickwork, painting and decorating, and electronic security systems.
There were 4,843 new apprenticeship registrations in 2017, bringing the population to 12,849 by year-end. More than 5,000 employers use the apprenticeship system.
What is an apprenticeship?
An apprenticeship is a dual system of education, whereby the apprentice learns through a combination of on-the-job employer-based training and off-the-job formal classroom-based learning. Apprentices alternate between the classroom and employers’ workplace. The first off-the-job training takes place in an education or training centre subsequent off-the-job learning take place in an IT. The further education and training centre, SOLAS, is the lead agency responsible for apprenticeship training on behalf of the government.
Apprenticeships usually take 2-4 years to complete. They lead to awards at Levels 5 -10 on the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).
Apprenticeships are ‘earn-and-learn’ training; apprentices are paid by their employers for the duration of the apprenticeship while they gain work-ready skills in their chosen occupation.
Traditionally apprenticeships were associated with crafts and trades such as carpentry, electrical, mechanical and bricklaying apprenticeships but apprenticeships have recently opened-up in a full range of twenty-first century industries and skill sets. Over 20 apprentices have been newly developed and introduced these include: accounting technician, insurance practitioner, manufacture engineering amongst others.