ONLY one in every 25 applicants looking for apprenticeships at the Killarney Crane Factory of Messrs Liebherr (Ireland) Ltd, will be lucky enough to gain a place this year. And for the first time, apprentices who are coming out of their time in October will not be retained by Liebherr because of a slack trade position.
This was the gloomy news facing school leavers this week when 150 of them turned up at Liebherr's Factory in Killarney for a total of six places in the factory's apprenticeship scheme.
Mr Josef Burke, Training Manager of the Factory said they will this year be taking on two apprentices for electrician training and four for fitter training. He said that only once in the long period that the Killarney firm has been running their apprenticeship schemes have they ever failed to take on apprentices and that was in 1972/73 during a recession.
The present recession is causing the firm to take on the smallest number of apprentices ever. He said that with the general trade recession that is hitting all firms in the country, they are also finding that more and more young people are coming on stream for jobs and job training.
"We have had applicants turning up here for those six advertised places from as far away as Mallow, Dingle, Cahersiveen, Kenmare, Boherbue, Listowel, Ballyheigue and Ballylongford," he explained.
Liebherrs are the only firm in Kerry offering apprenticeships on a regular annual basis, and at present have forty apprentices in various stages of training.
Aptitude tests set up by the Dept. of Labour were offered to the 150 would be hopefuls this week under the supervision of Mr Des O'Halloran, Placement Officer of the National Manpower Service. He said that the successful six will go to AnCo on October 6 for one year training and will then return to the factory for the remaining three years of their apprenticeship.