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Irish Government unveils new plan to double apprenticeships

The volume of apprentices is expected to almost double to 10,000 a year under a recent 5 year Government programme to expand “earn and learn” opportunities for school leavers. Apprenticeships are due to expand to cover scores of additional positions in renewable expertise such as wind turbine servicing as well as white-collar fields such as multinational financial services, electronics, and aircraft asset management.

Simon Harris, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, said that “These aren’t just alternatives to colleges,” he said. “They are, in many cases, an alternative way of doing college which offers a degree at the end of it. It’s not just about plumbing and building anymore; you can also be a quantity surveyor or engineer if you want.” In particular, among the plethora of opportunities being opened up, a revamped healthcare assistant position is supposed to attract the most attention. Other apprenticeships are available in various different fields, such as agriculture, which includes horticulture, farm management and much more; a building which includes jobs like roofing, and scaffolding and a few other building-associated jobs as well.

Outlined in the plan are instructions for public sector organisations, which will now be required to significantly increase the number of apprentices in local departments the Civil Service, and other State-funded organisations. The aim is to raise the number of public sector apprentices from about 100 to 750 in fields such as built heritage, ICT, and healthcare.

Another project that is also in the pipeline are apprenticeships in Europe, such a those offered under the Erasmus scheme. In addition, beginning next year, the private sector will receive grants – estimated to be around €3,000 per apprentice. Employers who hire candidates from under-represented communities, such as single parents, specially-abled individuals, or asylum seekers, will receive preferential benefits.

Mr Harris also added, “Apprenticeship is a fantastic way to learn. We know this because apprentices told us when we asked them as part of our consultation process. I want to see apprenticeship discussed around kitchen tables, in boardrooms, in classrooms and anywhere else that decisions on education skills and careers are made.”

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