Speech to Advanced Certificates Craft Presentation 2015 at City West Hotel

Check Against Delivery

Address

By

Damien English T.D., Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation

At the Advanced Certificates Craft Presentation 2015

City West Hotel, Dublin

Friday 25th September

Graduates, Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is a pleasure to be here today to celebrate your graduation as craftspeople. There are few occasions in our lives that are marked as special, and today is one of those days for you, the recipients of the Advanced Certificate Craft.

Apprenticeship is a high quality programme that is structured to ensure that the most up to date methods and practices are imparted to the participants throughout the duration of their apprenticeship. The combination of alternating phases of on-the-job and off-the-job training provides an opportunity to get a recognised qualification while at the same time gaining on-the-job experience relevant to your chosen career.

As Ireland’s economy continues to recover and businesses expand there will be more employment opportunities. We need to ensure that there is a pipeline of young talented people such as yourselves to meet this demand.

Businesses need people with strong practical skills, and apprenticeship and vocational training are key to delivering these. The skills learned through an apprenticeship are invaluable and offer real job opportunities.

In recent times we have seen a very high and growing demand for people with vocational skills and the Irish apprenticeship programme has proven hugely successful in developing highly skilled workers like yourselves here today.

The Irish Apprenticeship System is highly respected both here in Ireland and abroad and is one of the best apprenticeship programmes in the world. As Paul O’Toole mentioned, this is evident from the achievements of Irish apprentices in WorldSkills Competitions. I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the 2015 Irish Team, one of whom, David Morgan, is here today. Their success at this year’s WorldSkills Competition is remarkable.

I would also like to acknowledge the enormous contribution by all concerned with the provision of Apprenticeship training. Employers and the Education and Training Board Training Centres and Institutes of Technology all have a key role in the delivery of the programme, with SOLAS and the Department of Education & Skills, sharing responsibility for the planning of the programme. It is a model of partnership in action.

The reform of the Further Education and Training Sector is playing a key role in the Government’s commitment to ensuring that learners and those seeking employment can gain the skills they require to find employment and that employers have access to people who have the skills required for their business.

In 2013, as part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs initiative, my Department undertook a review of the Irish apprenticeship system. A key recommendation of the review was the establishment of an Apprenticeship Council.

One of the first tasks of the Apprenticeship Council was to issue a call for proposals from consortia of industry and education and training providers, to develop new apprenticeships in sectors outside the current craft apprenticeships.

In July 2015, following an evaluation of proposals received, the Minister for Education and Skills, Jan O’Sullivan T.D. and I announced twenty five new apprenticeship proposals. The expansion of Apprenticeship and the announcement of 25 new categories of Apprenticeship is part of the ongoing work to ensure that the system remains responsive to economic and employment needs.

The new apprenticeships will include a range of new industry sectors and offer new career opportunities. I am confident that these new apprenticeships will prove to be as successful and will match the very high standard of the existing 27 apprenticeships.

Finally, I would like to sincerely thank all those who offered you support and encouragement during your Apprenticeship. Today is an opportunity to celebrate your achievement in being recognised as highly skilled craftspersons.I congratulate each and every one of you and wish you every success with your career.

ENDS

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