Apprenticeship options are opening up
The 'earn and learn' approach can lead to a master's degree, writes Katherine Donnelly
This year's school-leavers have a host of new career avenues opening up to them.
The recovery in the economy has brought a revival in traditional apprenticeships, in the construction and engineering trades, while there are also brand new offerings in "white collar" sectors.
The "earn and learn" approach of apprenticeships combines college-based learning with workplace training, leading to a ladder of qualifications, in some cases up to master's level.
In this new era, apprenticeship-style career routes may also be called traineeships and associate professional programmes, The combination of college-based learning and practical (and paid) on-the-job training provides the perfect alternative to those who prefer a more hands-on approach to building a career,
Economic recovery has brought a steady increase in apprenticeship opportunities in trades such as plumbing and bricklaying, which are normally completed over four years.
Anyone interested should go on to the Construction Industry Federation's apprentices.ie. Potential apprentices can register, while employers also post vacancies.
Among the employers recruiting through it at the moment are John Sisk and Co Holdings, Dublin (carpentry and joinery; Sean Doyle Painting Contractors Ltd, Kilmuckridge, Co Wexford (painter and decorator)); Anthony Neville Homes Ltd. Kildare (bricklaying); and Jones and Electrical, (electrical and plumbing in Munster and Leinster).
Bord na Mona is currently recruiting eight apprentices in different areas.
In an example of opportunities emerging in industry, the multi-national, GSK has announced a new pharmaceutical technical apprenticeship, as part of its wider apprenticeship programme. The three-year programme, starting in September, will lead to a foundation degree in Applied Chemical Science Technology. The deadline for applications is August 31.
The Air Corps is currently recruiting for aircraft technicians. Successful candidates will graduate with a Bachelor of Engineering Technology in Military Aviation Technology (Level 7) accredited by the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT). Applications close on September 3. Recruits hold the rank of apprentice during training.
The move to "white collar" apprenticeships sees the insurance industry offering opportunities this September. Apprentices will complete the degree portion through distance learning with IT Sligo and The Insurance Institute. Further details at www.iii.ie/apprenticeships.
Some 220 places are being offered on a new pathway to technology careers - software development and network engineering - in a collaboration between FIT, an industry-led training initiative to develop tech skills, the JP Morgan Chase Foundation, and education and training boards (ETBs).The places are in Dublin, Louth, Kildare/Wicklow and Waterford/Wexford.
Also in the pipeline for this autumn are accounting apprenticeships through Accounting Technicians of Ireland and financial services apprenticeships, through the National College of Ireland, Dublin,