______________________________________________
For Oral Answer on : 27/02/2024
Question Number(s): 25 Question Reference(s): 8808/24
Department: Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
______________________________________________


QUESTION


To ask the Minister for Further and Higher Education; Research; Innovation and Science the way his Department is incentivising people from disadvantaged backgrounds to become apprentices; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

REPLY


One of the five overarching objectives of the Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025 is “Apprenticeship for All”, which aims to ensure that the profile of the apprenticeship population better reflects the general population.

The Plan promotes access, diversity and inclusion in apprenticeship. It offers targeted supports to incentivise participation from under-represented and socio-economically disadvantaged groups.

The National Apprenticeship Alliance established the Access & Inclusion Sub-Committee in early 2023 which sets specific targets and interventions in this regard.

The Access to Apprenticeship Initiative supports the transition of young people from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds into an apprenticeship scheme. Eligible participants can access a €3,000 grant to support living costs including travel, accommodation and materials. There is €500,000 funding in 2024 for this programme, delivered at TU Shannon, and expanding to include all Education and Training Boards, as well as TUS Limerick, Athlone, MTU and ATU Galway. 

The number of students accessing third level education who are members of the Irish Traveller community remains low. I am pleased to confirm €450,000 funding in 2024 for the Traveller Apprenticeship Incentivisation Programme. This will continue raising the profile of apprenticeship with the Traveller community and drive interest in participation.

We have also been working to help young people in the care of the State to access third level education. €100,000 has been secured in 2024 for bursaries of €3,000 each to support care leavers who wish to pursue an apprenticeship. 

These targeted supports are intended to make a real difference by making it more attractive and viable for all ages and backgrounds to choose the apprenticeship route to careers and qualifications.

I am committed to assessing on the basis of their impact how more can be achieved in terms of this crucial objective in the future.