Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins, have announced the roll-out of €17.2 million in capital funding to respond to the growing demand for apprenticeships.
This builds on the €20 million Apprenticeship Capital Fund investment in 2021 across both the further and higher education sectors.
The funding includes:
- Development of 2 large training hubs dedicated to electrical training for the next 3 years.
- Expansion of electrical, plumbing and carpentry programmes across further and higher education.
- Construction of electrical workshops at Kilkenny and Carlow ETB and the development of a training facility in Donegal.
- Call for additional phase 2 capacity in craft programmes that include carpentry, plumbing and refrigeration.
- Expansion of electrical apprenticeships in ATU Donegal and MTU Kerry
Speaking about the funding, Minister Harris said, “this investment is key to responding to the growth in apprenticeship numbers. Last year, we recorded the highest number of apprenticeships ever. Over the course of the next few years, we will need to continue to adapt our infrastructure to adapt to these growing numbers. The investment reaffirms the government’s strong commitment to enhancing and expanding the apprenticeship system and ensuring that access to cutting edge equipment positions apprenticeships as a valued and attractive path for people seeking third level.”
It is anticipated that in excess of 15,000 apprentices will be trained in 2022, an increase of some 34% on those training in 2019.
Minister Collins said, “craft apprentice registrations have experienced a marked increase in interest over the past 4 years with a record 8,607 new apprentices registered in 2021. The support announced today will go some way towards addressing the capacity needs across the craft apprenticeships, particularly in the electrical, plumbing and metal fabrication programmes. This development will benefit government policy including the Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021 – 2025, Housing for All and the National Retrofit Plan.”
The expansion of the national apprenticeship system has been a key government priority since 2016.