Lord Mayor welcomes Government focus on apprenticeships

Lord Mayor welcomes Government focus on apprenticeships

The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Colm Kelleher pictured with current carpentry and joinery students at Cork Training Centre.

THE Lord Mayor of Cork has welcomed a plan by the Minister for Higher Education Simon Harris, T.D. to secure 10,000 new apprentice registrations per year across a variety of trades and industries by 2025.

The commitment is part of the Programme for Government which details a specific Action Plan for Apprenticeships, which also sets out a number of other objectives which they plan to achieve by 2025.

The Lord Mayor has welcomed the Government focus on apprenticeships. 

“Ireland in the past traditionally had a good history of apprenticeships going right back. Some trades no longer exist but there was always an emphasis on becoming an apprentice. It’s a great way to learn your trade and it’s a very exciting time in Ireland again because for the first time in a decade there’s going to be a big emphasis on apprenticeship schemes again.” 

 “The economic downturn led a lot of people pursuing more academic routes as opposed to a trade and it’s unfortunate."

"I wouldn’t say we lost a generation but we certainly lost a certain cohort or age group of people who would have been capable tradespeople. 

"We lost a lot of people to emigration too, so this new, increased focus is very welcome,” he added.

The national plan seeks to create a new National Apprenticeship Office to drive reforms, establish a new grant for employers, with a top-up grant for areas of identified national skills needs and/or targeted recruitment of underrepresented groups such as female apprentices, or lone-parents, people with disabilities, or members of the Travelling community.

Other objectives include non-financial supports targeted to SMEs in areas such as recruitment and supervision of apprentices and set targets for the public sector to take on apprentices and to create cross-sector apprentices.

Cllr. Kelleher who in a former life was a well-established carpenter across the city and county says it’s a “very exciting time” for those seeking a trade profession. 

“An apprenticeship is a great alternative. It’s an opportunity to work on the ground and learn as you’re constantly going. 

"You will come out with a job or be able to provide a service that for most people is essential. Everyone needs houses and everyone needs a switch to turn on a lightbulb,” he added.

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