Today I was delighted to join my Departmental colleague Minister Jan O’Sullivan and Pat O’Doherty of the ESB and Chair of the Apprenticeship Council in announcing 25 new apprenticeship offerings.
These new offerings will see an expansion of the existing range of programmes offered under the Apprenticeship system, and are part of ongoing work to ensure that the system remains responsive to economic and employment needs.
The new offerings which are now in the development phase are the result of an evaluation process undertaken by the Apprenticeship Council.
The 25 new Apprenticeships will focus on a wide range of skills and sectors, including Manufacturing and Engineering, Tourism and Sport, Financial Services, Information Technology, Transport Distribution and Logistics, and Business Administration and Management.
The new types of apprenticeships being proposed today are very flexible, ranging in duration from two to four years, and will be offered at Levels 5 to 9 on the National Framework of Qualifications.
My job in Government is to bring education and industry together to make sure we have the skills needed for industry to compete, and for our people to get decent jobs with good wages. Since becoming a Minister a year ago, I have made building a more effective Apprenticeship offering a key part of delivering both of these objectives.
Apprenticeships are not the educational equivalent of the Junior B Football Team for people not deemed bright enough for a college degree. They are a pathway to a fulfilling and profitable career. Apprenticeships are a tried and tested method of developing deep skills through a powerful mixture of working with and learning from experts on the job, and through structured coursework.
Apprenticeships are about learning by doing. Quite simply, they work.
The launch venue of Dublin restaurant Fallon & Byrne was a fitting one given the surge in demand for more skilled people to work in the restaurant and hospitality sectors which has been highlighted to me regularly by Stephen McNally, and Enfield native and President of the Irish Hotels Federation, as well as many local hotel and restaurant owners.
Among the 25 new apprenticeships I want to highlight the work of Ashbourne butcher of the Association of Craft Butchers in Ireland for advancing the new Butchery and Fresh Food Retail apprenticeship.
There are also significant job opportunities in the HGV driver sector, and the I.T. sector, which is again reflected amongst the 25 new apprenticeships that will be offered.