Dublin-listed home builder Cairn Homes has announced it is investing €10 million into a new apprenticeship academy, aiming to double apprentice numbers on its sites, and tackle skills shortages in the construction sector.
It will provide supports to incentivise new entrants into the construction industry, such as school leavers or workers looking to re-skill and enter a career in construction, as well as to existing apprentices who are working with Cairn subcontractors.
The company aims to develop the Cairn Apprenticeship Academy over the next five years. Chief executive Michael Stanley said that the company is on an “ambitious growth trajectory”, and the future health of the industry’s workforce “is integral to those plans”.
“Today over 4,000 people are working full time on Cairn’s housing sites and only 160 of those are full time apprentices,” he said. “Our plan is to double those apprenticeship numbers over the next five years,” he said.
The academy will include ‘learning zones’ on Cairn sites, where apprentices will learn and practice their trade in a working-site environment, and tutoring and educational programmes.
It will also provide targeted financial supports and tailored business programmes to support apprentices in their careers, and engage with schools and other educational/careers institutions.
Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation & Science, Simon Harris, said that increasing the number of apprenticeships is “key to tackling the skills shortage we have in our country especially in the construction sector”.
“These apprenticeships will prove to be viable career paths for so many of our young people and will be a worthy investment for our future,” he said.
Julie Sinnamon, non-executive director of Cairn and former chief executive of Enterprise Ireland, said that establishing the academy is an “important new strategic initiative for the company”.
“We believe that this initiative will attract many new entrants to construction, leading to long and rewarding careers,” she said.