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Sinn Féin publish five year apprenticeship strategy

16 August, 2018 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD


Sinn Féin’s spokesperson for Business, Innovation and Enterprise Maurice Quinlivan TD has today launched the party’s five year apprenticeship strategy. 

The party aims to increase the number of apprentices to 60,000 within 5 years, and develop 63 more apprenticeship programmes to ensure a greater diversity of educational and training opportunities in the sector.

Speaking outside Leinster House today, the Limerick City TD said;

“Fine Gael has failed to meet their own targets for apprenticeships set out in their Action Plan to Expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship in Ireland 2016-2020.

“In 2017 just 391 people took part in newly established apprenticeship programmes, significantly missing the government’s own target of 800. In addition, only 9 of the promised 15 new apprenticeship programmes were introduced last year.

"To be so far off target at the midway point of their own plan is totally unacceptable and shows a lack of commitment by this government.  

“Worryingly the government seem to be completely off target again this year. A response I recently received from a Parliamentary Question states that the current number of apprentices on new courses is just 424, compared to a target of 2,370 for 2018.

“This document sets out Sinn Féin’s plan to increase the number of apprentices to 60,000 within 5 years, and develop 63 more apprenticeship programmes to ensure a greater diversity of educational and training opportunities in the sector.

“We believe apprenticeships should be developed as a key component of the education and training system in Ireland.

"Craft based apprenticeships have served our domestic construction industry excellently, in addition to benefitting many cities across the globe with our highly skilled workers.

"We want to build on this success, and replicate this across other growing and emerging sectors.

“In Ireland there can be a belief that after secondary school, the choice is to go straight to college. This can lead to people choosing a degree course for the sake of it, and later dropping out. Or on the other hand it can mean that a person’s education and training stops after their leaving certificate, if they take up full-time employment.

“We want to provide another significant avenue, to give people the widest possible choice in their education and career prospects.

Apprenticeship training will allow people to earn, learn and gain work experience whilst also working towards a qualification. In additional it will help equip Ireland with the skilled workers it needs for growing and emerging industries in the coming years.

“The level of female participation in the Irish apprenticeship system remains shockingly low. In 2018, there are just 160 female apprentices in training out of a total apprenticeship population of 13,589. To have a female participation rate of just 1% in 2018 is ridiculous and something that needs to be immediately addressed.

“This expansion plan aims to facilitate some of the 25,448 young people under the age of 25 who signed on the live register last month. In addition with a hard Brexit now a strong possibility, these extra places could cater for new courses in new areas such as customs and tariffs for example, or for workers who may need to upskill due to job losses that come as a result of Brexit.

“Fine Gael must refocus their attention on apprenticeships to ensure young people have a wide range of educational opportunities and Ireland has the skilled workers needed for the future.”

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