Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill says a new
policy aimed at modernising the apprenticeship system will make apprenticeships
in Ireland attractive, accessible and affordable.

The document was launched earlier this week.

Deputy Cahill said, “This policy puts forward a number of proposals which will
make apprenticeships a more attractive option for students considering their post-Leaving
Cert options.  We want to see more women
engaging with the apprenticeship model as well as widening the variety of
skills and opportunities by bring in public organisations and technology
companies. 

“Ireland has fallen behind the UK and other European countries in terms of our apprenticeship
offering.  There is a serious lack of
diversity, which this policy document aims to address.

“In 2018 the government
only managed to hit a quarter of its modest apprenticeship targets while in
2017 it managed only 4 in 10. This has huge implications for a variety of
sectors.  The hospitality and restaurant
industry has been one of the hardest hit – in fact the Restaurant Association
of Ireland (RAI) says the acute shortage of chefs is widening by at least 3,200
annually.

“The construction sector is also experiencing a serious skills shortage.  At a time when Ireland is in the grip of a
serious housing crisis, this simply isn’t good enough.

“Fianna Fáil wants to see the apprenticeship system here brought into the 21st
century. Government needs to step up to the mark and ensure that departments
and State agencies such as the HSE, the OPW, the Department of Foreign Affairs
and others provide apprenticeship places.

“Companies such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google, which offer apprenticeships in
other countries, should be encouraged to do the same here.

“A network of apprenticeship offices, which can offer options, advice and
support to people thinking about applying for an apprenticeship, should be
rolled out. 

“We need to get serious about promoting and expanding apprenticeship
programmes.  Not every student wants to
go to college or university and apprenticeships offer the opportunity to learn
essential skills through theory and practice. 
These proposals aim to build on the structure that currently exists, but
expand and diversity options to engage students and plug major gaps in the economy”.