Ask Brian: How can I get an apprenticeship in construction?

For the first time in Ireland, those seeking such apprenticeships and employers seeking to recruit them have a central portal in which to meet

Photograph: Thinkstock

Photograph: Thinkstock

 

PROBLEM: I am doing my Leaving Cert in June and want to get a start in a trade in the construction area. How do I go about securing an apprenticeship?

ADVICE: A major shortcoming of how the Irish education system treats young people is the support offered to those who opt to go in different directions after school.

Those seeking academic routes beyond second-level education have both the CAO and post-Leaving Cert (PLC) online application systems.

By contrast, those looking for an apprenticeship have had no formal resource or support other than the suggestion that they go out, knock on doors and hope they find an employer who will take them on.

I, along with colleagues from the Institute of Guidance Counsellors, met with the Construction Industry Federation more than a year ago to highlight the unfairness of this process for young people seeking apprenticeships.

The federation has been proactive in response to our representations. Initially, it developed a series of information videos on careers in construction, now available on careersportal.ie.

The federation followed this up with a substantial presence at the Irish Times/Institute of Guidance Counsellors Higher Options Conference in the RDS in September 2015.

The federation has now launched a new website, apprentices.ie, to provide an online platform for young people to encourage them to consider the opportunities that apprenticeships offer as a real career.

For the first time in Ireland, those seeking apprenticeships and employers seeking to recruit them have a central portal in which to meet. This will put school-leavers on an equal footing when it comes to securing an appropriate placement after they complete their second-level education.

The website provides information to young people interested in the construction sector on how to develop a career either as an employee or, as many apprentices will do, to open their own business with all the possibilities that this brings.

It allows anyone to create an account and upload a profile of themselves, outlining why they think they should be considered for an apprentice position. This is your opportunity to promote yourself. The quality of the information you upload could result in an interview with a potential employer.

The federation will be encouraging its members to advertise apprenticeships they have available and to be clear what attributes and qualifications they need. This should be useful to those searching for positions, as it will highlight the subject choices and grades that employers are seeking.

The construction industry is expanding; in the next two to three years it is forecast that about 50,000 jobs will be created. These positions will be across all areas of the industry.

For this initiative to succeed, you and all those young people who want more hands-on practical career options following the Leaving Cert need to register your interest.

This looks set to be a key forum where employers will go when seeking highly motivated young people interested in a career in construction.

  • Email your education queries to askbrian@irishtimes.com
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