Sinn Féin education spokesperson Deputy Jonathan O’Brien today welcomed the Minister’s commitment to meet with trade unions on the matter of charging unfair student fees to apprentices.
The Cork North Central TD said;
“I raised the matter of charging unfair student fees to apprentices in the Dail chamber today and the Minister has finally stated that he will meet the TEEU on the matter.
“The Minister must realise is that what this does is to actually make it more difficult for apprentices who are already struggling to find placements to complete their studies.
“The manner in which the government did this was a disgrace – they were given a month to come up with up to a thousand euro.
“Apprentices are treated like students when it suits the government – they have to pay this charge, but they can’t get the student grant. They pay this fee but they can’t get back to education allowance. It is disgraceful.
“Labour have been relentless in their attacks on young people despite the devastating impact the fees will have on young peoples’ ability to attend or complete apprenticeships.
“Representatives of trade unions have stated that the Minister for Education and Skills Ruairi Quinn has so far refused to meet with them to discuss the matter.
“The Minister has now said that he will meet them and it is on the record.
“I would urge him to now move to reverse these fees immediately.”