The Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD, has welcomed the provision of €10.5 million to expand the apprenticeship programme. The Government has, in Budget 2016, increased the National Training Fund allocation for apprenticeship from almost €50 million to over €60 million. This will allow for the development of new apprenticeship programmes and cater for increased registrations in existing trades.
Minister English said that “since my appointment, I have been committed to developing our apprenticeship system. We now have high quality proposals identified by the Apprenticeship Council in new areas such as ICT, Transport and Logistics, Financial Services and Tourism and Hospitality. This funding will allow for their development into new apprenticeships in 2016”.
He continued by stating that “Apprenticeship is an excellent route to a sustainable high quality career for young people as well as delivering highly skilled and job ready employees to meet the skill needs of industry. I am delighted that we are not just expanding apprenticeship into new areas but that registrations on existing programmes are continuing on an upward curve after a number of very difficult years”.
“The increase in registrations with employers for existing Apprenticeships which are up almost 20% in 2015 over 2014 are a clear vote of confidence in the future by both employers and young people. The Irish economy is now in recovery mode after many years of recession.” said Minister English “and investing in skills is one of the best things we can do to ensure we build a sustainable recovery and future proof the Irish economy.”
Minister English also welcomed that Budget 2016 will enable some 270,000 further education and training places to be delivered through SOLAS funding to the Education and Training Boards and through Skillnets.
The Minister said that “the Government has delivered major reform of the further education and training sector through new structures and processes that will enable provision to be targeted effectively to meet the needs of learners and employers. I am confident that SOLAS and the Education and Training Boards will carefully plan the delivery of these places to deliver the maximum positive impact for learners and for the economy.”