Jessica's 'life on pause' as her training stalls
JESSICA Irani (22) is an apprentice electrician at FAS. She started her seven-phase apprenticeship in 2007.
"I'm nearly two years with nothing," she said. "I've done all the way up to phase four but am now out of work and need to do one more phase in college and two more on site.
"There are seven phases in the apprenticeship: three in college and four on site.
"I've been in two on site so far. The first was an engineering firm. There were loads of us working for them doing the same kind of work, pulling in cables and doing conduits. I then started with another engineering firm in October 2007 and the employer pretty much doubled the workforce as he had quite a few jobs going on.
"It was working out grand until I started back on site after Christmas following college training. I don't know the full story but I got a week's notice. I wasn't the only one let go, there were six or eight of us. The foreman said there was not enough work.
"About half the class had already lost their jobs so it didn't come as a surprise. I know a few who haven't had a job since phase two and then there are people who were lucky and have gone on.
"FAS has done a lot to let apprentices have off-site training but I need more time on site to put it into action.
"I'm on Jobseeker's Allowance of €196 a week, compared with €350 you get in second year and €450 in third year, but I will keep with the apprenticeship. It's what's keeping me in Ireland.
"I'll see if the apprenticeship goes ahead. If it doesn't I'll have to think again and maybe change to something else but I can't stay on Jobseeker's. It's like my life is on pause."