CALLS for a purpose-built apprenticeship centre to be created on Cork’s northside to deal with the increased demand for workers in the construction sector have been raised by a Cork TD.
Sinn Féin TD for Cork North Central, Thomas Gould, raised the need for a purpose-built apprenticeship centre on the northside to deal with the increased demand for workforce in the construction sector especially.
Deputy Gould said: “World Skills Ireland have warned that we need urgent investment in apprenticeship infrastructure if the government are serious about addressing the severe skills shortages in areas like construction.”
The Cork TD continued: “Myself and Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire met with MTU recently and heard about their ambitious plans for apprenticeships.
"But we also heard that they are stuck teaching apprentices in old, dilapidated buildings and temporary accommodation.
"Now I fully believe our universities need to expand but why not a purpose-built apprenticeship centre on Cork’s northside as well?
“We have huge numbers of young people going for apprenticeships from the northside. It would be hugely beneficial and could be a state-of-the-art facility that would send a real message of confidence into communities and into apprentices.
“Currently they are being housed on a college campus that is well beyond capacity,” he added.
Deputy Gould said investment needs to be made in apprenticeships.
“We are short 27,000 workers to meet the government’s housing targets and the only way we will see these be delivered is real investment in apprenticeships.
"People need proper wages. The average rental in Cork city is now over €1,500. A first-year construction industry apprentice earns €246 a week.
“Who can afford to live on €246 a week and how is that sending a message that we value our apprentices?” he added.