Minister of State with special responsibility for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. today (1 May 2019) opened an apprenticeship employer consultation event to hear ideas on current and future apprenticeship provision. The event, entitled Generation Apprenticeship – What’s Next?, was organised by the Apprenticeship Council and held in Dublin’s Gibson Hotel.
Today’s event aims to provide a wide range of employers with a platform to give feedback on their experience of engaging with the expanded and reformed apprenticeship system. This feedback will inform the development of a successor to the Government’s Action Plan to Expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship 2016-2020. Under the Action Plan, 20 new apprenticeship programmes have already been developed across a variety of sectors, ranging from financial services and ICT to hospitality. A strong pipeline to deliver further new apprenticeships is also in place.
The Minister said: “I am delighted to see so much positivity and engagement from employers, and to hear valuable feedback on how new apprenticeships are working and evolving in partnership with education providers. Apprenticeship starts with employers – industry input is vital to ensuring that this method of progression is available for young people to experience the workplace, to develop and become highly skilled, to secure bright futures in a whole host of new careers.
“The Government’s major project of expansion of apprenticeship is bearing fruit for employers and learners. Apprenticeship registrations have increased by over 80 per cent in the last three years and there are now almost 16,000 people ‘earning and learning’ through apprenticeships. Over 1,000 of these apprentices are benefiting from an exciting range of high-quality new programmes developed over the last three years.
“Employers know better than anyone what skills they value, and their input to this system is fundamentally important. The new generation of apprenticeships demonstrates how employers can give our young people a really competitive offering to enter the workplace and progress in their careers. We need to listen to, understand and try to address barriers to employer engagement with apprenticeship if we are to build on the successes already achieved.”
The event is part of the Government’s initiative to ensure the greatest possible engagement by employers to deliver opportunities for young people and to deliver highly relevant skills into Irish workplaces. Government and the Apprenticeship Council are keen to learn from the experiences and opinions of employers, including on perceived barriers to recruiting apprentices, to evolve the apprenticeship model over the coming period.
The Minister said: “What we hear today will be taken forward into our plans as we embark on a new phase of renewal of the apprenticeship system. We hope to get rich and clear feedback both on how well our new programmes are working to deliver on employer needs and on the effectiveness of the apprenticeship model as a whole.”