At last, new apprenticeships - at €23,000 a year in the IFSC
Finally, more of the long-promised apprenticeships are coming on stream - and just in time for school-leavers looking for an alternative to the CAO.
The roll-out of three new-style 'earn-as-you-learn' programmes, including some in white-collar areas such as financial services and software development, is expected in the autumn.
They are in the final stages of approval, having come through the validation panel set up by Quality and Qualifications Ireland (QQI), the independent state watchdog for accountability in education and training services.
Whether the more traditional, blue-collar apprenticeships, or new ones, the same approach applies, with participants working and getting time off to study for a qualification, in some cases to degree level.
One that has been much anticipated is in Dublin's IFSC, where apprentices will work in an international financial services company for two years, and study at the same time, with annual salaries of €23,000 and €32,000.
The IFSC is offering two different programmes, one called IFC Associate Level Apprenticeship, a Level 6, higher certificate, aimed at school-leavers or those who have completed a Post Leaving Certificate (PLC) business course. There are 30 places and apprentices will be paid €23,000 a year.
The IFS Specialist Level Apprenticeship is aimed at graduates of all disciplines. It leads to a higher diploma in financial services analytics, a Level 8 (honours degree) qualification, with a starting salary of €32,000. There are 50 places on this programme.
The National College of Ireland in the IFSC is the coordinator and will manage recruitment. Interested candidates should apply by expressing their interest on ifsapprenticeships.ie.
Meanwhile, two new apprenticeships in information and communications technology (ICT) are also on target for the autumn, with about 250 places nationwide. Both will be for two years and will lead to a Level 6 award.
One is the ICT Associate Professional Network Engineer Apprenticeship, which will have modules in areas such as network operating systems, networking technologies and internet server management.
The other is the ICT Associate Professional Software Developer Apprenticeship, which will cover topics such as systems analysis and design, software applications testing, web development and website software, and software design fundamentals.
Fastrack to Information Technology (FIT), an industry-led initiative, is the coordinator and will manage recruitment. Interested candidates should apply by expressing their interest on the FIT website at fit.ie/courses/fit-ictap/. Salaries are not finalised.
The Irish Hotels' Federation and the Restaurants' Association are among those in the consortium offering a two-year commis chef apprenticeship leading to a Level 6 qualification, with 112 apprentices nationally to be recruited on its first intake. Early October is the planned starting date and recruitment will be through local employers advertising their positions.
Kerry ETB is the coordinating provider, and there will be five partners: Cork ETB, Galway-Roscommon ETB, Limerick and Clare ETB, City of Dublin ETB and Cavan Monaghan ETB. Salaries are not finalised.
Meanwhile, plans to recruit 120 apprentice accounting technicians with major firms such as Deloitte, from September, are also well advanced and it is hoped that a formal announcement will be made next month.
This is a link-up between the industry body, Accounting Technicians of Ireland, and a number of education and training boards, in Dublin city and county, Cork, Cavan, Monaghan and Wicklow.
Participants will spend four days a week in the workplace and one day a week in a college, such as Colaiste Íde, Finglas, Blackrock FE Institute, Rathmines College of FE, Bray Institute of FE, Monaghan Institute and Cork College of Commerce.
These new apprenticeships follow a number introduced in the past year, including one in the insurance industry, and more recently in the polymer processing and medical devices industries.