30 June, 2014 - Apprenticeship Council to be appointed which will issue a call for proposals for new apprenticeships

Minister Quinn publishes Apprenticeship Implementation Plan

A new Apprenticeship Council which will oversee the development of this area of training and on the job experience is to be appointed next month, the Minister for Education and Skills has announced.

Minister Ruairí Quinn T.D. is publishing an Apprenticeship Implementation Plan today, which follows on from a review of apprenticeship in Ireland which was chaired by the Chairperson of the Labour Court Kevin Duffy. 

The Council will be enterprise led and have representatives from business, trade unions, further and higher education bodies and the Department of Education and Skills. It will be hosted by SOLAS, the further education and training body. An independent chairperson will be appointed by the Minister. 

The first job of work of the new Apprenticeship Council will be a call for proposals from industry for new apprenticeships. It will then evaluate and submit proposals to the Minister on what new apprenticeships should be introduced.

Alongside this work, the curricula for current apprenticeships will continue to be reviewed under existing structures. Five trades (Electrical, Plumbing, Carpentry and Joinery, Metal Fabrication and Heavy Vehicle Mechanics) are currently being reviewed by SOLAS.  Significant progress has been made, however, the process has been slow. The implementation plan envisages accelerated arrangements for reviewing the remaining trades.

Minister Quinn said, “The work we are doing to modernise the apprenticeship system and make it fit for purpose in the 21st century is vitally important. It is part of the Government’s agenda to revitalise the further education and training sector.”

“The implementation plan I am publishing today has very clear actions and timelines and while they are ambitious, I believe that with the active engagement of industry we will have a number of new apprenticeships in areas where there are job opportunities within two years.”

The Apprenticeship Implementation Plan follows the publication of an independent review of the apprenticeship system in January. Minister Quinn broadly accepted the recommendations of that group and requested the Department draw up an implementation plan. 

The apprenticeship review and implementation plan are part of the Government’s commitments in the Action Plan for Jobs and have been delivered within the targeted timeframe. 

ENDS

The Apprenticeship Implementation Plan is available at http://www.education.ie/en/Publications/Education-Reports/Apprenticeship-Implementation-Plan.pdf

Summary of Key Implementation Actions

  • Appointment of National Apprenticeship Council – Q3 2014
  • DES, SOLAS and HEA to engage with enterprise sectors to outline plans for promotion of new apprenticeships and seek support – Q3 2014
  • Complete the review of the 5 initial trades – Q4 2014
  • SOLAS/QQI to review system for revision of existing apprenticeships with a view to acceleration of process – Q4 2014
  • Call for proposals for new apprenticeships:

- Development and issue of call for proposals – Q4 2014

- Submission of proposals – Q1 2015

- Evaluation of proposals under specified criteria – Q2 2015

  • Report to Minister – Q2 2015:

- Identifying viable proposals

- Identifying measures to facilitate further progressing of proposals

- Identifying resource implications

  • Development of new apprenticeship(s) – by Q4 2015 to Q2 2016 – involving:

- Establishment of development groups for each apprenticeship

- Determination of awarding arrangements potentially including the development of new awards

- Development of curricula

- Identification of clear progression pathways

- Clarification of recruitment processes and of allocation of places to registered employers

- Determination of the apprenticeship contract

  • Drafting and enactment of legislation to establish Apprenticeship Council on a statutory basis and underpin new  apprenticeship system – Q1 2016
  • Ongoing further development of new apprenticeship system.