Senator Aisling Dolan - Strong Voice, New Vision.

Government launch plan to reform apprenticeships- Dolan

April 20, 2021

Government launch plan to reform apprenticeships- Dolan

The Government has today launched a new five-year plan to overhaul the apprenticeship system, a Fine Gael Senator has said.

The plan will increase the number of new apprentices to 10,000 every year from 2025 and introduce a new grant for employers who take on apprentices.

Senator Aisling Dolan said:

“As Fine Gael spokesperson for Further & Higher Education I very much welcome the new Apprenticeship Action Plan, launched by my colleague Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris TD.

“It’s a fantastic path to a career of your choice from accounting, software, lab technician to construction, engineering, mechanics as well as catering & hairdressing. With over 60 apprenticeships and an additional 18 being developed in equine, farm management and more… there’s something for everyone.

If you have been recently impacted with loss of role during the pandemic, or if you are coming back into the workforce, upskilling for a new role, why not take the apprenticeship route. These courses are at different NFQ levels up to Level 9 in Software, Advanced Quantity Surveying and Financial Services . And apprentices can earn while they learn.

We also know there is a high drop-out level after first year in our colleges so perhaps this route could bring a chance for students to explore and discover the right path for them. Now parents and career guidance counsellors can consider more options for school-leavers.

“This new plan will reform the system, making it easier to become an apprentice and a financial asset to take on an apprentice. The new apprenticeship office will support SMEs, retailers and micro-enterprises as well as larger companies to apply to the programme.

“If you are an employer, the Government will introduce a new grant for apprenticeship. We also want to see more women taking up apprenticeships in traditional male areas. And increase accessibility for all so additional incentives are also available for businesses if you take on an apprentice from underrepresented groups.

“If you are a learner, we are going to broaden the range of apprenticeships including in the public service, in health, farming and green skills. Apprenticeship is good for the learner and it is good for business. Explore & discover a new career for you at” Senator Dolan said.

The plan commits to:

- Increasing the number of new apprentices to 10,000 every year from 2025;

- Creating a new Apprenticeship Office to drive reforms;

- Introducing a new grant for employers who take on apprentices;

- Additional financial supports for employers who take on apprentices from under-represented groups such as female apprentices, or lone-parents, people with disabilities, or members of the Travelling community;

- Targets for the public sector to take on apprentices and to create cross-sector apprentices;

- New cross-border apprentice programmes and potential for apprenticeships to study abroad.

Minister Harris said: “This is a really exciting plan and offers a renewed focus on apprenticeships.

“We have made significant progress in recent years but we know we need to do more. We have listened to businesses and apprentices and today, we launch the foundations of a new and improved system.

“I strongly believe that this route provides the best option to grow apprentice numbers and providing a visible signal to employers and everyone out there that apprenticeship is a real choice for employers and learners who want to grow and develop skills and achieve qualifications.”