Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris has announced the Apprentice of the Year.
Over 180 apprentices have been nominated from around the country for the inaugural national Apprentice of the Year awards. 12 awards were announced with Brian Riordan, an electrical apprentice from Dublin, named the overall award winner.
Speaking at the event, Minister Harris said, “I want to warmly congratulate each nominee this evening on their hard work and commitment to their apprenticeship, and also thank their employers, educators and families for their ongoing support. There is a huge amount of motivation and talent on show here this evening, and I look forward to many more years of celebrating success through the Apprentice of the Year awards.”
“I want to congratulate the 187 nominees, 12 finalists and, in particular, the overall winner of Apprentice of the Year Brian Riordan from Dublin, employed by Designer Group. Apprenticeship is a vital lever for the continued economic prosperity of this country – it not only unlocks the skills and expertise necessary for leading Irish businesses, but also will help us to achieve critical aims in the Programme for Government, including on housing. This is a really exciting time for apprenticeships and tonight is a chance to celebrate our apprentices and the businesses who have taken them on. I would encourage anyone to consider an apprenticeship. This is third level education and you can earn as you learn. It is time to get involved and help us build the next generation of apprentices.”
Dr Mary-Liz Trant, Director of the National Apprenticeship Office, said, “it is clear from the many talented and dynamic nominees in the first ever Apprentice of the Year awards tonight that the conversation around apprenticeship is changing. Apprenticeship is a pathway into a great career, and a choice that both apprentices and businesses can be very proud of taking. I’d like to thank all of the apprentices, businesses and families here this evening – and also thank our independent expert judges for all their hard work in making some very tough choices.”
There have been 6,177 apprenticeship registrations to date. The total apprenticeship population is 25,131.
Under Budget 2023, funding of €30 million is being provided for apprenticeship.
The funding provided in the Estimates will provide for 4,500 new registrations across both craft and existing consortia-led programmes.
In addition, €400,000 has been for social inclusion measures for apprentices. This funding will provide a bursary to apprentices who are under-represented in the apprenticeship population, and expand provision of the Access to Apprenticeship programme.