Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins TD, have launched the Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025.
The Action Plan sets out a five-year strategy to deliver on the programme for Government commitment of reaching 10,000 new apprentice registrations per year by 2025.
The plan provides a roadmap to a single apprenticeship system and new supports for employers and apprentices.
It will also:
- Create a new National Apprenticeship Office to drive reforms
- A new grant for employers, with a top-up grant for areas of identified national skills needs and/or targeted recruitment of underrepresented groups such as female apprentices, or lone-parents, people with disabilities, or members of the Travelling community
- Non-financial supports targeted to SMEs in areas such as recruitment and supervision of apprentices
- Set targets for the public sector to take on apprentices and to create cross-sector apprentices
- Examine the potential development of new cross-border apprentice programmes and support apprentice engagement in international programmes such as Erasmus
Minister Harris said: “People learn in different ways and I want to make sure that everyone is aware apprenticeship can be for them as a route to a qualification into the future.
“The overall apprentice population will grow to over 30,000 registered apprentices in the next five years. In particular we want to ensure that there is equal access for everyone to apprenticeships, irrespective of their background, gender or age. We have listened to businesses and employers too and will introduce further supports to make it easier to take on an apprentice and offer you the financial support to do so.
“This plan has the potential to transform this part of our third level system. Apprenticeship is good for the learner and the employer.”
Employers would be grant-aided up to €3,000 per year, per apprentice they take on from 2022.
Minister Collins said: “This action plan is based on feedback from enterprise, the education and training sector and apprentices themselves.
“It builds on the apprenticeship system in Ireland, including the strong relationships between employers and the education and training sector and the established collaborative approach between the further and higher education sectors in managing and delivering apprenticeship.
“This Plan will make it easier for employers and apprentices to engage with apprenticeship, supporting and driving innovation in the workplace through responsive and topical programmes.”
The Plan also requires public sector employers to increase the level of apprentice recruitment to the public sector to reach 750 new apprentice registrations per annum by 2025.