A new "apprenticeships council" is to establish which sectors require more trainees and ensure those, offered opportunities, are given the "best possible training".
The proposed council, announced by the Department of Education, has been welcomed by employers’ groups who say the current apprenticeship system “did not reflect the broad skill needs of the Irish economy”.
The department said one of the first tasks of the council would be “to issue a call, for proposals from employers and education and training providers, to develop new apprenticeships in areas outside of the current apprenticeship trades”, as well as to advise on the implementation of new apprenticeships following that process.
Education Minister Jan O’Sullivan said there was a strong take-up of apprenticeships currently available, with the uptake 47% higher than the same time last year.
“We are currently reviewing the course content for those apprenticeships to ensure they provide people with the best training possible,” she said.
“The apprenticeship council will map out the sectors where new apprenticeships can make a real difference to both employers and future employees.”
Tony Donohoe, head of education and social policy at employers’ body Ibec, said the current system, limited to 26 occupations, did not reflect the broad skill needs of the Irish economy.
“A new model has the potential to boost skill levels across the economy and help get people into quality, sustainable jobs,” he said. “It is vital that companies are involved in both the design of curricula and in the delivery of programmes. “
The Construction Industry Federation said the announcement of the council was fundamentally important for the future of its sector. It said the construction industry accounts for the majority of apprenticeships, but according to figures released in the summer, there had been a mixed level of intake into some construction apprenticeships this year.
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