Focus on new technologies, sustainable methods and materials and modernising traditional craft
The Minister for Education and Skills Joe McHugh T.D., together with the Minister of State for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor T.D. and Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation and Research and Development John Halligan T.D. today announced capital funding of more than €7.5 million for nine Institutes of Technology and the Technological University (TU) Dublin.
IT Sligo has been awarded €960,000 for IT Sligo’s craft apprenticeship programmes. Apprenticeship is a programme of structured education and training which formally combines and alternates learning in the workplace with learning in an education and training institution. IT Sligo offers training in three trade apprenticeships, one in Tool Making, one Carpentry and Joinery and one in Electrical Instrumentation.
President of IT Sligo, Dr Brendan McCormack, welcomed the announcement by Minister Mary Mitchell O’Conner;
“This is a significant announcement by the Minister and shows the commitment by the government to invest in apprenticeship programmes which are growing in popularity at IT Sligo and across the country, enabling students to “Earn & Learn” simultaneously.”
Government’s commitment, under Project Ireland 2040, to increase investment in higher and further education and training and to the modernisation of equipment available for craft apprenticeship provision.
Minister McHugh said: “The Government is deeply committed to expanding the apprenticeship system and this investment reaffirms that. Ensuring that our young people and those retraining have access to cutting edge equipment and the latest thinking on sustainability is key to further developing this increasingly-popular option for training and progression.
“There was an 80% increase in apprenticeship registrations between 2015 and 2018. This €7.5m funding will enable Institutes of Technology and TU Dublin to purchase new equipment and update their infrastructure.
“Apprenticeships offer fantastic opportunities and I would encourage any person looking at their career options, especially students preparing to sit exams this week, to strongly consider the many benefits of apprenticeship.”
Today’s announcement brings the total capital funding allocated to support the modernising of craft apprenticeship programmes in the sector since 2017 to more than €23 million.
It is being provided by the Department of Education and Skills through the Higher Education Authority (HEA).
This funding will support the roll-out of new syllabi for apprenticeships in Plumbing, Carpentry, Electrical, Brickwork, Motor Painting and Decorating, Vehicle Body Repair, Fitting, Toolmaking and Wood Manufacturing and Finishing.
It will enable Institutes of Technology and TU Dublin to provide apprentices with training in the most up to date techniques, including sustainable and renewable technologies such as solar and wind energy and energy efficient construction methods and materials.
The equipment needs have been identified by the HEA, in conjunction with SOLAS. 6,500 apprentices are expected to undertake training in an Institute of Technology or TU Dublin in 2019.
Minister Mitchell O’Connor said: “I am delighted that over €7.5 million is being invested to support the modernisation of the syllabi and to purchase new equipment for our apprenticeship programmes in our IoTs and TU Dublin. It will ensure that our apprenticeships have the best possible experience, keep pace with new methods and technologies in the workplace and are trained to the highest level possible.”
Minister Halligan said: “This Government is committed to more than doubling the number of new apprentices registered and the number of apprenticeships on offer over the lifetime of the Action Plan to Expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship. Budget 2019 allocated €142m for apprenticeship training, an increase of over 16% on the previous year. This will allow for the delivery of 10 more apprenticeship programmes and over 7,000 new apprenticeship registrations in 2019 alone.”