Fianna Fáil Housing Spokesperson Barry Cowen TD has criticized the failure of the Government to roll out a shared apprenticeship scheme model in Ireland.

This system has been successfully used in the UK to boost apprenticeship numbers.

SOLAS, in partnership with Construction Industry Federation (CIF) and Waterford Wexford Education and Training Board (WWETB), operated a pilot initiative in the last year to test the viability of a shared apprenticeship scheme. However it has been decided not to progress the new model across the country despite its success elsewhere.

Deputy Cowen said, “In order to reach the targets set out in the Re-Building Ireland plan and the National Development Plan we need a major increase in skilled workers.

“CIF has predicted an intake requirement of 3,840 construction related apprentices by 2020. Around 2,500 apprenticeships were registered in 2017. We need to boost numbers to give young people more opportunities and secure the workforce needed to build homes. Shared apprenticeships help to reduce costs for the employer and give smaller companies a chance to use them.

“The decision to abandon the pilot project seems pre-mature and limited. We need to develop new ways to attract and retain apprenticeships for both employers and employees alike.

“I am calling on the Minister for Skills John Halligan to fully review the options available to boost apprenticeship numbers and what new mechanisms can be used to develop the shared apprenticeship model.”