Further and Higher Education; Research; Innovation and Science | Emergency availability of apprentices in training centres
To ask the Minister for Further and Higher Education; Research; Innovation and Science following the emergency response put in place to increase the intake of plumbing, carpentry, joinery and electrical apprentices the training centres that took on emergency response proposals; the trades that they took on; if he will confirm the number of new instructors that were taken on and which trades they covered; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
Apprenticeships are employer led demand driven educational and training programmes that aim to develop the skills of an apprentice in order to meet the needs of industry and the labour market. As apprentices are employees, the demand for and number of apprentices is primarily dictated by the employers in any area or sector.
The Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025 sets out new ways of structuring, funding, and promoting apprenticeships to make apprenticeship more accessible to employers and learners, to achieve a target of 10,000 annual registrations across a wide range of programmes by 2025.
Meeting these targets requires a responsive apprenticeship system that provides 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.
We have made important progress to date. Last year saw a record 8,607 registrations. This is an increase of nearly 40% compared to 2019, the last “normal” year. This is a strong foundation on which to build as we advance delivery of the Action Plan, in order to embed apprenticeship as a preferred route to skills development.
Regarding the development of apprenticeship and upskilling educational and or retraining facilities:
- Capital funding of €20m was provided in 2020 to extend and upgrade facilities.
- Further funding of €17m has been provided to SOLAS and the HEA to address Covid-related backlogs, €6 million of which is being invested in additional instructors, with over 100 additional posts approved
- To ensure that there is capacity to meet the training needs of rapidly increasing numbers of apprentices, expansion of the apprenticeship system is continuing in 2022, with further major investment in workshops and staff is planned for this year.
Specifically, the funding includes:
- The development of two large training hubs dedicated to electrical training for the next three years;
- Expansion of electrical, plumbing, and carpentry programmes across further and higher education;
- The construction of electrical workshops at Kilkenny and Carlow ETB and the development of a training facility in Donegal;
- A call for additional phase 2 capacity in craft programmes that include carpentry, plumbing and refrigeration Expansion of electrical apprenticeships in ATU Donegal and MTU Kerry.
I am confident that these measures will contribute to the further development of the apprenticeship system, so that it continues to make a valued contribution to our skills response.
Regarding the deputy’s specific data requests in relation to the training centres that took on emergency response proposals; the trades that they took on, the number of new instructors that were taken on and which trades they covered; a detailed account of this information has been requested from SOLAS and will be communicated to the Deputy as soon as possible.
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