Apprenticeship uptake lags year behind target
Uptake on new apprenticeship programmes is a year behind its target.
Apprenticeships are moving well beyond traditional sectors such as construction, and 17 new offerings - many in white-collar jobs - have rolled out since 2016.
Insurance, accounting technician and auctioneering are among the areas now offering opportunities for a part work, part study approach to gaining a qualification.
Instead of paying college fees, school-leavers and others suited to earn-as-you-learn career pathways are paid starting salaries of €18,000-€24,000 while they study.
It was hoped that 976 of these new-style apprenticeship positions would be filled by the end of 2018, but uptake stands at only 520.
The number of new programmes is lagging behind the 25 expected for 2018, which partly explains the shortfall. But a lack of buy-in by employers, who are responsible for recruiting apprentices, is a factor, the Oireachtas Education Committee heard yesterday.
There is also a problem with school-leavers and others suited to this route simply not knowing what is available, or understanding what the apprenticeship option offers.