The Government’s Plan to expand apprenticeships and traineeships in Ireland was recently launched in Piranha Bar, a creative digital studio producing commercials, films and animated content in Dublin City Centre. The plan aims to deliver 50,000 apprenticeship and traineeship registrations by 2020. Piranha bar will be running one of these programmes – an exciting new traineeship in visual effects.
There are currently 27 apprenticeships in Ireland, in areas such as construction, engineering and the motor sector. Other countries have a much broader tradition of apprenticeship. For example, Germany has over 300 apprenticeships, across a wide range of sectors.
Under the Plan, Apprenticeships and Traineeships will give an alternative career path for many young people. Apprentices and trainees will be embedded in enterprises and will get the chance to learn skills and get hands on experience. It will give young people the opportunity to acquire applied, technical skills within a variety of sectors, and provide a very practical grounding which will stand to them as they move through their career and take advantage of promotional opportunities. For companies, the aptitudes which will be learned by these apprentices and trainees will be invaluable. It will help exporting companies based in Ireland to scale their business, to grow their exports and to take advantage of the opportunities offered by a global economy.
The plan is based on the view that in order to have a properly functioning skills development system to support a growing economy, and in order to provide career paths for people of different types of interest and abilities, we must develop a stronger pipeline of apprenticeships and traineeships. Higher education institutions alone will supply a portion of our skills needs, but there is a need for stronger alternative routes and alternative sources of the different types of skills that a growing economy requires.
The Plan will accelerate the delivery of new apprenticeships and traineeships:
- Roadmap with annual targets for the number of new Apprenticeship and Traineeships up to 2020
- Clear 10 step path for the development of new apprenticeships and Traineeships
- 2017 call for new Apprenticeship and Traineeship proposals to refresh the existing pipeline
- Details of how state agencies, education and training providers and employers will work together
- Enhance collaboration between the three education agencies SOLAS, HEA and QQI, in liaison with the Department of Education and Skills
- Proactively engage with employers and enterprise to secure buy in and engagement with the apprenticeship and traineeship routes
- Strategically build capacity within the education and training system, in the areas that include curriculum design, quality assurance and enterprise engagement; and mechanisms to underpin expansion with robust, ongoing monitoring and evaluation.
- Launch an apprenticeship web portal; Enhance national IT systems and supports for apprenticeship underway to support connections with employers and apprentices nationally
- Run a Promotional campaign, to target SMEs and FDI, guided by Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and the regional skills fora.
- Review patterns of participation in apprenticeship and traineeship by groups in apprenticeship, including female participation; identify any barriers existing, and makes recommendations for the future.
The Insurance Practitioner Apprenticeship, the first of the new programmes developed through the Apprenticeship Council’s first call for proposals, launched in September 2016 and an Industrial Engineer Apprenticeship commenced in November 2016. 13 further new apprenticeships are due to launch later this year in various sectors including medical devices, polymer processing and financial services.
A campaign to promote apprenticeship is currently being developed by SOLAS in consultation with key partners, including the Apprenticeship Council. The campaign will raise awareness and promote the value of apprenticeship for individual apprentices and for employers and it will cover both existing apprenticeships and the new apprenticeships now coming on stream.
For more information visit the SOLAS website at www.solas.ie