IT Sligo has secured circa €1.08 m from the Higher Education Authority (HEA) to increase its number of apprenticeship courses from September 2021. The institute also welcomed the recent commitment to apprenticeships by Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris TD.
The Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025 sets out a five year strategy to deliver on the programme for Government commitment of reaching 10,000 new apprentice registrations per year by 2025.
IT Sligo has a long history of apprenticeship programmes in Ireland since its formation in 1970, and has developed a strong reputation among industries including manufacturing engineering, toolmaking, electrical, plumbing and carpentry & joinery.
Apprenticeship programmes offer structured education and training which formally combines and alternates learning in the workplace with learning in an education and training centre. Welcoming the announcement, IT Sligo’s Head of Faculty of Engineering & Design, Una Parsons said:
“We very much welcome the Minister’s recent commitment to the apprenticeship programme. Not every student wishes to continue full-time study after finishing school and are looking for a blended approach of in-company and workshop based learning in an education setting. This announcement by the Minister will enable more students to fulfil their ambitions while also providing a much needed skilled workforce to the country.”
In recent years IT Sligo has branched out to other industries and is the co-ordinating provider of the BA (Hons) in Insurance Practice with the Insurance Institute as its Industry partner. This programme allows students to “Earn & Learn” enabling them to gain a degree in their career while working in the industry.
Head of Faculty of Business and Social Science at IT Sligo, Dr Michael Barrett said the Minister’s announcement will allow more industries to look at other ways to recruit employees;
“IT Sligo through the Insurance Practice programme has proven industry can recruit excellent employees who can gain relevant career based qualifications while also training on the job. This gives the best of both worlds for employers and employees. The apprentice route to employment can be adapted to any industry as has been proven with the Insurance Institute and IT Sligo’s collaboration. It also opens the opportunity to people who can’t or usually don’t follow the traditional education route. We are also working on plans with the Freight Transport Association Ireland on very exciting plans to bring a very exciting programme into this growing industry.”
The plan provides a roadmap to a single apprenticeship system and new supports for employers and apprentices. It will offer a new grant for employers for the targeted recruitment of underrepresented groups such as female apprentices, or lone-parents, people with disabilities, or members of the Travelling community.