Skip to main content

For Oral Answer on : 13/10/2021
Question Number(s): 28 Question Reference(s): 49750/21
Department: Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.


To ask the Minister for Further and Higher Education; Research; Innovation and Science further to Parliamentary Question No. 509 of 15 September 2021, his Department’s plans to encourage more young persons to take-up an apprenticeship and to support existing apprentices in their training; and if he will make a statement on the matter.


The Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025 was launched on 19th April and sets out a five year plan which sets out new ways of structuring, funding, and promoting apprenticeships to make apprenticeship accessible to employers and learners. The actions set out in the plan seek to deliver on a target of 10,000 apprenticeship registrations per annum by 2025.  

The Plan addresses the clear need to broaden the awareness of apprenticeship as a work-based route to internationally recognised qualifications and experience for people of all ages, be they progressing in their career, school leavers, career changers or the unemployed. Growing that message is a key feature of planning for apprenticeship in the coming years.

Specific actions to facilitate learners in accessing apprenticeships include:-

  • Extension of the Apprenticeship Incentivisation Scheme from the 1st July 2021 included a requirement to either publish available positions on or to opt out with a rationale, to facilitate increased access to apprenticeships and to investigate rational for non-publication of opportunities to facilitate further actions.
  • Engagement between DFHERIS, the Central Applications Office (CAO) and SOLAS on supporting those making career decisions to be able to consider the full range of education and training options available to them, including FET and apprenticeship will see infomation on all options included on the CAO website for the first time this Autumn.  
  • A new National Apprenticeship Office will make accessing information on, and engagement with, apprenticeship more straightforward for both learners of all ages and employers.  In 2022 we will launch financial supports for employers of apprentices and the Public Service will set out a roadmap for the recruitment of apprentices to a range of public service employers.

Under the Action Plan the impacts of, and outcomes from, existing access to apprenticeship and pre apprenticeship programmes as well as other interventions across the sector will be examined to provide an evidence base for best practice and future interventions to deliver an apprentice population which better reflects the general population.  Enhanced cooperation with the State’s Public Employment Service as set out in the Plan will also increase visibility of apprenticeship to employers and career changers.

Building on inclusion in the CAO and actions set out in the Action Plan, linkages to and from major career guidance and further and higher application resources will drive  recognition of the range of offerings available to learners across the system. Apprenticeship will be positioned within career guidance websites and support structures, as a clear route to qualifications and a career in areas of proven skills need.  Increased engagement with guidance counsellors will also roll out in 2022.  The development of apprenticeship taster courses will also be explored as part of Transition Year and Senior Cycle reform with the NCCA.