Apprenticeship Review Consultation

26 August 2020 

A revised national upskilling and reskilling plan will be an integral part of our economic and social recovery as Ireland recovers from the effects of Covid-19. Pre Covid-19 a record 2.36 million people were at work according to the CSO quarterly Labour Force Survey (LFS Q4, 2019) with unemployment at 4.6% nationally. The ERSI has forecast that Ireland now faces a monumental crisis with unemployment rates expected to be as high as 25% and youth unemployment to exceed 50% as we approach the autumn.

Ireland has seen significant progress in recent years both in apprentice numbers and the range of new craft and non craft apprenticeship programmes on offer to those seeking alternative routes to upskilling or reskilling for new career pathways. Despite this global economic turmoil, acute skill shortages remain in industry sectors particularly in ICT roles. The US alone has over 500,000 ICT vacancies with many tech giants now actively changing their talent acquisition strategies. Companies like IBM and Amazon have abandoned the necessity of new hires holding degrees in favour of company designed apprenticeships. Global insurance giant Zurich recently adopting the same talent acquisition approach.

The earn and learn model is nothing new however what is changing is the range of industry sectors now offering new apprentices careers across a diverse range of job roles. The increase in apprenticeship programmes has been welcome and indeed necessary to meet industry skill needs. However, the absence of greater numbers of companies employing apprentices has stifled our ambitious targets of 50,000+ apprentices engaged in work-based-learning by 2020.  

Your views are important to help shape a more accessible and attractive apprenticeship system which is attractive and supportive of employers who employ apprentices.The consultation document which provides a preview and a set of questions can be accessed here apprenticeship-consultation.pdf (size 1.7 MB)