Government of Ireland
Regional Skills

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Record number of people register as apprentices - Minister Harris


Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD has today welcomed a record year for apprenticeship registration in Ireland.


Figures show the apprenticeship population has increased to 24,212 with a record 8,607 new registrations in 2021.


Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “Since this Department was established, we have a placed a real focus on apprenticeships and we are starting to see the impact of that focus in these figures.


“Under the Apprenticeship Action Plan, we set ourselves a target of 10,000 new apprentices every year by 2025. In 2021, we registered over 8,600.


“Crucially, we are starting to see an increase in the number of female apprentices. When I was first appointed, there were 706 apprentices. Today, that figure is 1,535.


“That is still a fraction of our apprentice population but it is important to see the numbers continuing to increase. This year we will be working to increase participation amongst traditionally under-represented groups, including females.


“In a further support measure this year, we have introduced an employer grant of €2,000 for employers of apprentices on consortia-led programmes to help level up the supports which other categories of employers receive.


"We have much more we want to achieve including developing more apprenticeship programmes. 6,955 of our new apprenticeships are in craft apprentices and they are badly needed. But we have much more to offer including hairdressing, ICT, accounting, insurance among others."


Minister of State for Skills Niall Collins TD said: “This is really exciting to see. Apprenticeship is third level education. It is an opportunity to earn and learn. It is an opportunity to get on-the-job training. We need much more apprentices, but this is a really important start.”


Mary-Liz Trant, Director of the new National Apprenticeship Office, said: “Apprenticeship is now growing fast as an ‘earn as you learn’ skills and career option for people of all ages and backgrounds, and as a way for employers to find and retain talent.


“New apprenticeship programmes will be added this year, in more industries, soon there will be an apprenticeship route on offer within every 21st century industry in Ireland.”