MEMBERS of the Construction Industry Federation are tackling the industry’s impending skills shortage with an innovative idea that sees several companies sharing apprentices.
The number of apprentices entering the construction industry dropped sharply in recent years.
However, new apprentice registrations must rise from 1,700 to 4,000 by 2020 to deliver Ireland’s housing and infrastructure requirements.
In 2016, the CIF launched the Shared Apprenticeship Scheme in conjunction with SOLAS, which enables member companies to form a consortium to take on apprentices. The scheme gave participating companies the ability to share apprentices with other members if the pace of work lessened, providing consistent training and work experience for the apprentices involved.
Four companies took part in the pilot scheme — Clancy Construction, Cleary-Doyle Construction, Anthony Neville Homes and Mythen Construction — taking on four apprentices between them. The scheme will now be rolled out around Ireland.
Dermot Carey, CIF Director of Safety and Training said: “Thanks to the recovery in the economy, the companies involved in the Shared Apprenticeship Scheme Pilot have not needed to share their apprentices, but nonetheless that safety net was there for these companies and it gave them the confidence to take on these apprentices once again.
“One of the companies had never taken on an apprentice before and they found it so beneficial that they started taking on apprentices in their own right also. The scheme is currently being rolled out across Ireland and while it is not going to be the only solution to the low numbers of apprentices that we are experiencing, it will certainly be part of the solution.”