Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Richard Bruton host Regional Action Plan for Education Forum

31 March 2017 

Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Richard Bruton host Regional Action Plan for Education Forum

Focus on Apprenticeships and Traineeships

Action Plan Education Apprenticeship Forum1

Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, and the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, TD, will hold the latest in a series of regional meetings on the Action Plan for Education today (Friday 31st March) in the Mayo Campus of Galway Mayo Institute of Technology in Castlebar.  

The purpose of this series of meetings is to outline the Government's Action Plan for Education and to detail the steps the Government are taking to make Ireland the best education and training system in Europe by 2026. Taoiseach Enda Kenny and Minister Bruton will hear ideas and feedback from the educational community and employers based across the region on the Government’s plan to expand Apprenticeships and Traineeships. Minister Bruton has set out the government’s plan to deliver 50,000 Apprenticeship and Traineeship Places by 2020, as part of the Action Plan on Education launched in September.

This forum follows on from successful meetings in Waterford, Cork and Galway, which discussed issues relating to skills provision and wellbeing.    

Speaking at the event in Castlebar, Taoiseach Enda Kenny, TD, said:

"Today's forum on apprenticeships and traineeships in GMIT Mayo Campus is one of a number of regional meetings on the Action Plan for Education.  The focus of this discussion on apprenticeships and traineeships is very apt as the economy continues to improve and with unemployment now under 7%.  Work-based apprenticeships and training programmes have played a vital role in meeting the education and training needs of Ireland for a number of decades at this stage"

Taoiseach Kenny continued: "Since the 1970s, it is estimated that over 100,000 apprentices have been trained.  An additional 30,000 people have also been trained through traineeships over the last 20 years.  Ireland has been well served by a very high standard of apprenticeship training and education that has contributed greatly to the skills of our workforce.  Employer buy-in is critical and it is essential that employment leaders continue to build on new and existing relationships within the enterprise community and that all sectors of the economy embrace the challenge to develop new apprenticeships and traineeships."

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton, TD, said: 

“The Action Plan for Education, aiming to make Ireland’s education and training system the best in Europe, is committed to reaching 50,000 registrations by 2020. This will not be easy to deliver, and will require sustained cooperation from industry, and strong support and coordination from the State.

 “One of the greatest causalities of the recession were apprenticeships and traineeships. Enrolment in their career pathway collapsed and fell by over 80%. This closed down an important pathway which is a characteristic element in many of the most successful education systems. We now need to do two things. Firstly, rebuild these traditional pathways; and secondly build new apprenticeships and traineeships in areas where they haven’t traditionally existed. We need to rebuild these options into a new robust pathway which will become an attractive and respected option for at least 20% of our school leavers. This would see the present apprenticeship and traineeship system expand significantly, covering all major economic sectors, and doubling enrolments to 14,000. This will require us to forge a new partnership with employers, both in the public and private sectors.

“Working with employers, we will strengthen apprenticeship and traineeship in Ireland, increasing the range of courses and increasing the number of student places to achieve the Government targets. “Apprenticeship and traineeship is a very exciting option for many young people. Industrial leaders in many sectors place a very high value on a trained apprentice or trainee, with many moving into managerial positons.

“I am very confident that we now have a clear pathway for developing new apprenticeships, clear annual targets for apprenticeship and traineeship registrations as well as targets for the development of new programmes. It is my ambition to develop apprenticeships and traineeships as high quality and attractive options for school leavers, other learners and crucially for the parents of Ireland who have such an influence into career choice.”