Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education & Skills Thomas Byrne has urged the Government to accelerate the number and range of apprenticeship schemes available to young people.
Deputy Byrne expressed concern about Ireland’s ability to compete with Britain in a post-Brexit era because of the scale and diversity of apprenticeships on offer in the UK.
“The outstanding apprentices who represented Ireland in the WorldSkills event in Abu Dhabi in recent days are testament to the impact apprentices can have among the Irish labour force”, explained Deputy Byrne.
“However, our apprenticeship model is not fit for purpose. Minister Halligan must move faster to introduce new opportunities and occupations if we are to catch up with our competitors and help address skills shortages in key areas.
“The latest round of proposals were sent to the Apprenticeship Council on September 1st – and it is essential that they are considered as soon as possible. School-leavers should have access to a much greater range of career options, but this Government has come late to the table in terms of recognising the potential of apprenticeship schemes.
“Apprenticeships must also be marketed as true and equivalent alternatives to college for many. I recently proposed a Dáil Apprenticeship Scheme, which would see the Houses of the Oireachtas offer apprenticeships in the areas of parliamentary affairs, public administration and political communication. Public bodies such as the HSE, RTÉ, local authorities and State departments could also create their own apprenticeships, in partnership with relevant education providers.
“Irish-resident companies, which already offer apprenticeships in the UK, could replicate these models in Ireland, as could some of the global tech firms based here. Other companies involved in the airline, media, retail, public relations, pharmaceutical, child and social care sectors should also be encouraged to run relevant apprenticeships.
“We need to see the active promotion of apprenticeship programmes through public information campaigns. This would help mobilise support among potential employers, education providers and apprentices”, concluded Deputy Byrne.