Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare South and Chairperson of the Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills Fiona O’Loughlin says the Government should implement a National Skills Competition to allow young apprentices, trainees and students to showcase their skills.

Deputy O’Loughlin made the comments after Irish competitors had a string of success at the World Skills Competition being this week in Abu Dhabi.

Deputy O’Loughlin said, “Irish competitors have had a successful few days at the ‘Olympics for apprentices’ as they showcase their skills to an international audience. It is a highly competitive event and the successes of the Irish team clearly demonstrate that our young apprentices have much to offer and flourish when given the opportunity to do so.

“Fianna Fáil has long argued that we need to do more to promote apprenticeships for young people in Ireland and make the system fit for purpose to ensure people get the skills they need to break into the workforce. The Irish Government should look to mirror the success of the World Skills Competition by putting in place a National Skills Competition to allow young Irish people to develop their skills and get recognition for the dedication that they show as part of their training and upskilling.

“The proposed National Skills Competition would be similar to the BT Young Scientist Exhibition in so far as it would allow young apprentices and trainees to aspire to achieve national recognition as they develop their skills. The competition would also help to promote apprenticeships and training programmes and would demonstrate the value in participating in further education and training.

“Ireland has experienced issues in promoting apprenticeships and training programmes in recent years. This comes at a time when other countries are seeking to develop their apprenticeship and training programmes as there is a growing recognition that these schemes offer a brighter future for many over the formalised education offered by universities.

“Mirroring the success of the World Skills Competition on a national level makes sense, and I hope it is something that the Government will consider,” concluded Deputy O’Loughlin.