Fianna Fáil General Election candidate for Galway East Cllr. Anne Rabbitte has confirmed that additional apprenticeship places will be rolled out under Fianna Fáil. The party, which has always prioritised funding to invest in education, has committed to increasing the number of apprenticeships available if elected to Government.
Cllr. Rabbitte explained, “Between 2010 and 2014, the number of apprenticeships fell by 30%, which is a damning indictment of Fine Gael and Labour’s priorities when it comes to education and training. They have failed to realise that higher education is not limited to university degrees. Many employers value the hands-on approach that apprenticeships provide and students gain important practical experience in the field alongside classroom based teaching.
“As a result of this Government’s focus on high skilled, tech-led sectors, we have been left with a severe shortage of staff in the service and hospitality industry, which is particularly important in the west of Ireland. The Restaurants Association estimates that at least 5,500 extra chefs are needed to cater for demand, however the Government’s short-sightedness and failure to plan ahead means that target is completely unachievable in the timeframe needed to secure the future of restaurants and businesses across the country.
“I am calling for a training kitchen to be built at the Mervue Training Centre, which could be used for all hospitality training courses in the Galway region. At the moment, the number of training kitchens available in the country, falls far short of what is needed. This deficit needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
“It is vital that apprenticeship options are matched with job market demand – something which this Government has failed to do. The current apprenticeship schemes on offer are limited to a narrow range of occupations, which has led to huge gaps in the system. Fianna Fáil will broaden apprenticeship programmes and create additional places on schemes, which will be informed and shaped by regular industry reviews.
“Fianna Fáil believes education is fundamental to a productive and competitive economy. We know that apprenticeships play a key role in creating decent jobs and supporting enterprise and we will ensure that these schemes are expanded and supported to ensure that certain sectors, which have been undervalued by this Government, are given priority”.