Fianna Fáil will this week bring forward ambitious proposals to modernise the apprenticeship system in Ireland.

The motion, which will take place on Wednesday afternoon, brings forward a number of proposals. These include increasing the number of women taking part in apprenticeships, increasing apprenticeships in public organisations and technology companies, and opening regional apprenticeship offices.

Fianna Fáil’s Education Spokesperson, Thomas Byrne stated:

“Ireland is lagging far behind Britain and many EU countries in the scale and diversity of apprenticeships currently offered here. This year, the Government only managed to hit a quarter of its modest targets while last year it managed only 4 in 10. With areas such as the hospitality sector prepping for Brexit and construction sector in need of staff to solve the housing crisis, this is simply not good enough.

“Fianna Fáil is a champion for apprenticeships. The most pressing issue of all in this area is the need to rebalance the number of women taking part in apprenticeships. With only 2% of apprentices this year women, compared with over half last year in the UK, the bursary which is currently in place is clearly not enough. Adequate supports must be facilitated, including with State training agencies to move towards parity at much greater speed.

“The system needs to be brought into this century. That means harnessing government departments such as the HSE, the OPW, the Department of Foreign Affairs and others to provide these places.

“It means developing apprenticeship offices that people can visit to learn about the opportunities which are available to them. It means ensuring that companies which offer apprenticeships in other jurisdictions such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google do the same in Ireland,” concluded Byrne.