The government need to refocus their efforts on expanding the apprenticeship system – Maurice Quinlivan TD
Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD today called on the government to refocus their efforts on expanding the apprenticeship system in Ireland, in order to give young people a greater choice of third level educational opportunities.
He has also called for the government to ensure Ireland has the skilled workers needed for growing and emerging industries.
Speaking in the Dáil this afternoon, the Limerick City TD said;
“I am concerned at the slow reform and expansion of the apprenticeship system in Ireland, and I believe the government need to refocus their efforts in this area.
“The government’s current approach is unambitious, uninspiring and are unacceptably slow. It is not good enough that they are missing their own targets in this area.
“In 2017 just 391 people took part in newly established apprenticeship programmes, significantly missing their own target of 800. In addition, only 9 of the promised 15 new apprenticeship programmes were introduced last year.
“A great deal of work is needed to promote this method of education and training and ensure a buy in from parents and students alike.
“Unfortunately a belief developed in recent years that apprenticeships were somehow a lesser form of education compared to college or university.
"This is most certainly not the case, as college does not suit everyone, and engaging in an apprenticeship is incredibly advantageous, as it allows a student to earn while learning, and while gaining very valuable work experience at the same time.
“The female participation rate and the inclusion of people with disabilities in apprenticeships have been something Sinn Féin has consistently highlighted as a serious issue of concern, and something that needs addressing urgently.
“It’s astonishing to think that in 2018, there are just 319 female apprentices out of a total apprenticeship population of 13,921, representing a dismal 2%.
"In addition I have been informed by SOLAS that their records indicate just 371 people with disabilities are engaged in apprenticeships in 2018. This is again an unacceptably low rate of participation, and needs immediate attention.
“We need to radically expand the number of people engaging in apprenticeships in order to give young people a greater choice of third level educational opportunities and to ensure Ireland has the skilled workers needed for growing and emerging industries.”