The Government is handing more than €8m for 10 new apprentice programmes at Institutes of Technology around the country.
It is also promising to more than double the number of apprentices registered to 9,000 by the year 2020.
Meanwhile, the Higher Education Authority is proposing a new "university of creative arts".
The plans would see a merger of the NCAD and the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art, Design and Technology.
More than 4,000 students are currently enrolled across both institutions.
The initiative would aim to enhance the sector's ability to attract research funding, and boost collaboration across the creative arts.