Fianna Fáil TD for Tipperary Jackie Cahill says a new policy aimed at modernising the apprenticeship system will make apprenticeships in Ireland attractive, accessible and affordable.
The document was launched earlier this week.
Deputy Cahill said, “This policy puts forward a number of proposals which will make apprenticeships a more attractive option for students considering their post-Leaving Cert options. We want to see more women engaging with the apprenticeship model as well as widening the variety of skills and opportunities by bring in public organisations and technology companies.
“Ireland has fallen behind the UK and other European countries in terms of our apprenticeship offering. There is a serious lack of diversity, which this policy document aims to address. “In 2018 the government only managed to hit a quarter of its modest apprenticeship targets while in 2017 it managed only 4 in 10. This has huge implications for a variety of sectors. The hospitality and restaurant industry has been one of the hardest hit – in fact the Restaurant Association of Ireland (RAI) says the acute shortage of chefs is widening by at least 3,200 annually.
“The construction sector is also experiencing a serious skills shortage. At a time when Ireland is in the grip of a serious housing crisis, this simply isn’t good enough.
“Fianna Fáil wants to see the apprenticeship system here brought into the 21st century. Government needs to step up to the mark and ensure that departments and State agencies such as the HSE, the OPW, the Department of Foreign Affairs and others provide apprenticeship places.
“Companies such as Facebook, Amazon, and Google, which offer apprenticeships in other countries, should be encouraged to do the same here.
“A network of apprenticeship offices, which can offer options, advice and support to people thinking about applying for an apprenticeship, should be rolled out.
“We need to get serious about promoting and expanding apprenticeship programmes. Not every student wants to go to college or university and apprenticeships offer the opportunity to learn essential skills through theory and practice. These proposals aim to build on the structure that currently exists, but expand and diversity options to engage students and plug major gaps in the economy”.