Harris praises ‘remarkable’ construction course helping people from inner city

Minister for Higher Education says more courses are needed if housing targets are to be met

An inner city training course which has helped more than 1,000 people has been described by Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris as “an incredible initiative”.

The Dublin Construction Skills and Retrofitting Programme, which started in 2017, is run by St Andrew’s Resource Centre in partnership with the Inner City Renewal Group.

The Dublin Port-based three-week course is focused on helping unemployed upskill quickly and find gainful employment in the construction industry. It consists of two main components: a Construction Skills Certification at Level 3 and a Retrofitting Assistant Certification.

Both components involve a placement process, and they work closely with each individual candidate to facilitate their entry into the construction industry.


The primary objective of the programme is to have 60 per cent of participants gain employment in the construction sector, with the majority of them securing jobs within four weeks of completing the course.

Mr Harris said he was “blown away” by the work of St Andrew’s Centre, adding that more such courses were vital if housing targets were to be met.

He said the course had given graduates a “qualification that has given them a start, sense of self, a sense of confidence and a sense of self-esteem”.

“With over 1,000 graduates, this course is not just about numbers, it’s about creating opportunities, empowering people and driving economic growth. It’s heartening to see the construction industry embracing and benefiting from this skilled workforce. Congratulations to all involved in this remarkable achievement.”

On Friday, a further 10 people graduated, bringing the numbers involved to 1,003.

Among those who graduated was 20-year-old Megan Pepper from Ballymun who is hoping to get a job as a bricklayer. Her father, James, is also a bricklayer and stonemason. She got into the course through Intreo in Ballymun.

She is hopeful now of getting an apprenticeship. “It has given me the opportunity to get into work as I have interviews after doing the course,” she said.

She said women were not encouraged enough to go into the construction industry. “If there was a push to get into construction, there would be a lot more females in it. This course is amazing. I learned so much about myself and learned many new skills.

“I have always loved construction and it has always been my dream to get into the industry. Traditionally, it is a very male dominated, but through the course, I can see that it is changing.”

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy

Ronan McGreevy is a news reporter with The Irish Times