Brendan Smith welcomes launch of new five-year Apprenticeship Action Plan

Fianna Fáil TD for Cavan Monaghan, Brendan Smith has welcomed the launch of a new five-year Apprenticeship Action Plan. 

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.   

Deputy Brendan Smith commented, “As we know, everyone learns in different ways and this plan provides a roadmap to a single apprenticeship system and new supports for both employers and apprentices.” 

The plan 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. 

Deputy Smith added: “Having equal access to apprenticeships is a big part of this action plan. So irrespective of background, gender or age, apprenticeships should be an option for all. 

“This action plan has the opportunity to transform this area of our third level education system and will benefit the learner and the employer.” 

Speaking today, party colleague and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall 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.