Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal Charlie McConalogue says major gaps in apprenticeship trades could cause major issues for house delivery.

New figures released to Fianna Fáil reveal shocking skills gaps across a range of apprenticeship courses.

Deputy McConalogue commented, “This new information exposes a worrying trend in the apprenticeship sector – there simply aren’t enough people training in trades – and this could have a major knock on effect on our ability to build the number of homes we need to meet demand.

“These figures reveal that at the end of Q1 2018 there were only 122 apprentices in brick and stone laying, 69 in plastering and zero in floor and wall tiling.  This is nowhere near the number of apprentices we need to sustain a viable construction industry.  The Construction Industry Federation is forecasting demand for 112,000 workers by 2020 to meet the demand for housing and infrastructure projects.  Based on the figures from the Minister, we are nowhere near that.

“Unless the government changes its approach and policy towards apprenticeships we are heading for a serious skills shortage.  Ministers appear to be failing to grasp the reality that tradespeople are an integral part of the construction sector.  We need tradespeople to build homes.

“This skills shortage needs to be tackled, and quickly.  There is no point in having five year plans or policy documents if there are not enough skilled workers to ensure that the works can be undertaken and completed”.