Brexit-ready apprenticeship schemes needed in Monaghan– Gallagher

Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Education in Seanad Eireann, Senator Robbie Gallagher says that there is a need for an acceleration in the number and range of apprenticeship schemes available to young people here in Monaghan and across the country.

“The scale and diversity of apprenticeships on offer in the UK has increased and we are not moving fast enough. In Germany a high percentage of young people go into apprenticeships. University is not for everyone, we need a diversity of pathways to work. With the threat of Brexit upon us it is more important than ever to promote this option for young people. The outstanding apprentices who represented Ireland in the WorldSkills event in Abu Dhabi in recent days including those from Cavan and Monaghan such as Colm Farrelly who won a Medallion in Aircraft Maintenance are testament to the potential apprentices can have in the labour force”, he said.

“We need to move faster to introduce new opportunities and occupations if we are to catch up with our competitors and help address skills shortages in important areas. The latest round of proposals were sent to the Apprenticeship Council on September 1st – and it is essential that they are considered as soon as possible. School-leavers need access to a much greater range of career options, but the Government has been too slow to recognise the potential of apprenticeship schemes,” he said.

“Apprenticeships must be marketed as equivalent alternatives to college for many. Fianna Fail has proposed a Dáil Apprenticeship Scheme, which would see the Houses of the Oireachtas offer apprenticeships in the areas of parliamentary affairs, public administration and political communication. Public bodies such as the HSE, RTÉ and local authorities could also create their own apprenticeships, in partnership with education providers.”

“More Irish companies and global tech firms based here could and should be encouraged to set up apprenticeship schemes. Companies involved in media, retail, public relations, pharmaceutical, child and social care sectors should also be encouraged to run relevant apprenticeships. The ETB and MIFET have much to offer with regard to developing this area further. Local initiatives in Monaghan involving firms such as Combilift and Errigal Contracts show the potential of such schemes,”

“We also need to see the active promotion of apprenticeship programmes through public information campaigns. This would help mobilise support among potential employers, education providers and apprentices,” he concluded.

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