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Failure to invest in apprenticeships adding to growing skills shortage – Maurice Quinlivan TD

16 January, 2019 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Business, Enterprise and Innovation Maurice Quinlivan TD today said that the government’s failure to invest in the apprenticeship system in Ireland is adding to the growing skills shortage and that more needs to be done to help get the 37,300 young people who remain unemployed into the workforce.

Deputy Quinlivan was responding to figures he received which show the government have again missed their own apprenticeship targets for 2018.

Speaking today, the Limerick City TD said;

“For a third year in a row, the government have missed their own targets for expanding the apprenticeship system in Ireland.

“Figures I have received today from the Minister for Education show that last year, just 590 people took part in newly developed apprenticeship courses, not the 1,500 promised, while the government also failed to hit their own target of introducing 10 new programmes as set out in the Action Plan to Expand Apprenticeships.

“To miss the target for the number of registrations on new courses by 60% is totally unacceptable and shows a complete lack of effort and priority in this area.

“This failure to invest in the apprenticeship system is having a major impact on the growing skills shortage across a wide range of industries, with the National Skills Bulletin 2018 identifying 30 occupations where there are an insufficient number of people available to take up vacant positions. These included key roles in science, engineering, ICT, accounting, construction and hospitality.

“The apprenticeship system is underutilised in Ireland and it offers the government an opportunity to both reduce the number of people who remain on the live register and also tackle the growing skills shortage across a number of industries.

“Despite the positive progress made in reducing the number of people unemployed over the past few years, the reality is that 127,100 people across Ireland remain out of work.

“Of these, 37,300 are people aged between 15 and 24, which is actually an increase on the same period last year.

“The government should ensure these people are given the support required to access apprenticeship programmes, which can offer a unique avenue to earn, learn, gain valuable work experience, and work towards an internationally recognised qualification and a rewarding career.

“The government need to refocus their efforts on expanding the apprenticeship system to ensure Ireland has the educated and skilled workers needed for growing industries and to give people who remain unemployed a new path to re-enter the workforce.”

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