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Crowe welcomes ESB initiative to take on 400 apprentices

9 March, 2010

Dublin South West Sinn Féin Councillor Seán Crowe has welcomed ESB’s initiative to take on 400 apprentices to finish their training and called on the government to encourage other public and private companies to make similar moves.

Speaking today Councillor Crowe said:

“Figures from FAS indicate that over 5,700 apprentices are currently not in training as they have been made redundant. Such apprentices cannot complete their training and become qualified without work experience. The collapse of apprenticeship numbers can also be seen in those entering courses. Only 83 new apprentices were registered in January 2010 compared to nearly 500 in January 2008. Unless something is done there will be real shortages of qualified trades people in a few years time.

“I welcome the decision by the ESB to take on up to 400 electrical apprentices to allow them finish their training. This decision shows that, even in times of economic difficulty, companies with a good public record can make a real difference. Other public companies such as Bord Gais and the CIE group also need to make an effort here and the government should offer incentives to such companies rather than simply allowing apprentices go onto social welfare and allowing a national skills shortages develop. Large public contracts should require the successful bidder to support apprentices.

“Between social welfare and lost taxes every redundancy costs the state an average of €20,000. We need to be much more proactive in keeping jobs. Cutting enterprise spending is the last thing we should be doing in an economic crisis.” ENDS

Editor’s note:
The next meeting of the Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly Social Inclusion sub-committee on 12 March in Waterford will discuss a proposed letter to Táinaiste Mary Coughlan on the crisis for apprenticeships.

The Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly Social Inclusion sub-committee will also discuss a motion calling on the government to reverse cuts to cuts in funding for the City/County Enterprise Boards.

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