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.”
"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.