Government must address serious problems in the delivery of apprenticeship courses - Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD
Dublin South Central Sinn Féin Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD has described as “chaotic and a shambles” the delivery of apprenticeship courses for people on SOLAS training schemes.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh was speaking today in the Dáil on a Topical Issues’ debate with the Minister for Jobs and Enterprise Richard Bruton when he challenged the Minister to respond to serious issues affecting the delivery of apprenticeship courses arising from a lack of funding and poor management.
“The collapse of the building industry”, said Deputy Ó Snodaigh “impacted greatly on the delivery of apprenticeship schemes that in the past were the responsibility of FÁS but are now provided by the ETB and SOLAS.
“I am aware that serious funding and management issues are impinging greatly on the delivery of apprenticeship schemes with some six month courses being delivered without the provision of basic equipment such as phones, computers and other basic materials essential to learning a trade.
“There is also a lack of class supervision by qualified tutors and in one worrying example brought to my attention, a carpentry tutor has been teaching an electrical course which considering the specialist nature of this trade raises serious health and safety issues around the quality of the training being provided.
“Unlike when wages were regularised under FÁS, the schemes being delivered by the ETB and SOLAS are resulting in a significant disparity in wages being paid to tutors. An hourly wage of between €20 and €23 is not uncommon and to compound matters further, retired instructors are receiving up to €36 an hour which is not only grossly unfair but a disincentive to tradesmen and women who are considering entering the teaching profession.
“As the building industry recovers from the disaster of the bust, we need expanded apprenticeship training programmes that are properly funded and fit for purpose otherwise the tradesmen and women of the future will be unprepared when entering the workforce.”