The Government has announced the development of 17 new apprenticeship programmes aimed at tackling skills gaps across the economy.
The new courses, which will come on stream in 2022, are in the areas of agriculture, engineering, construction, equine, finance, hospitality and food, ICT and logistics.
Up to 62 apprenticeships have been established since 2016 under the government’s action plan for apprenticeships. Effective from January, employers who take on apprentices in one of 37 programmes will receive an annual grant of €2,000. Apprentices have an employment contract and are paid a salary for the duration of their apprenticeship.
Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said the development of the new programmes was intended to help deliver on the commitments made under the programme for government to support and drive the economy while addressing the skills requirements identified across society.
“In order to meet our targets we require an apprenticeship system that is flexible and responsive, providing a strong value proposition for employers and potential apprentices, is attractive and easy to engage with, and which delivers high standards and sought after qualifications, therefore embedding apprenticeship as a preferred route to skills development,” Mr Harris said.
Mr Harris indicated he would bring forward legislation to allow for the delivery of apprenticeships in agriculture to develop apprenticeships in farm manger and farm technician roles.
In construction the plan is to be able to access a master’s level qualification in quantity surveying through the apprenticeship route.
“An apprenticeship in commercial driving is being developed. And this is key as there is a real labour and skill shortage emerging in the transport and haulage sector. These will complement the existing logistics apprenticeships,” Mr Harris said.
“We have set ourselves ambitious targets but we are delivering on them. As of last month we had 7,484 apprenticeship registrations this year – a 25 per cent increase on pre-pandemic 2019 figures for the same period. This has continued to increase and just last week we achieved over 8,000 registrations so far this year.”