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For Oral Answer on : 27/02/2024
Question Number(s): 24 Question Reference(s): 8809/24
Department: Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science
Asked by: David Stanton T.D.
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QUESTION


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

REPLY


The Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025 promotes access, diversity and inclusion in apprenticeship by offering targeted supports to encourage participation from under-represented groups such as the Traveller community. 

One of the Plan’s main objectives is “apprenticeship for all”, to ensure that the apprenticeship population better represents the national population. To advance this, the National Apprenticeship Alliance established an Access & Inclusion sub-committee in early 2023.

In 2023, a tailored programme for Access to Apprenticeship within the Traveller community was developed and successfully introduced. This initiative was led by the Irish Traveller Movement, with advice and support from the sub-committee.

The Traveller Apprenticeship Incentivisation Programme aims to increase uptake of and retention on apprenticeships within the Traveller community and has run an advocacy and awareness campaign to raise the profile of apprenticeships.

The Programme offers a bursary of €3,000 to successful applicants and separately a €2,000 grant to eligible employers. To date, interest has been positive and encouraging. The Programme went live in April 2023 and by the end of 2023, 41 Travellers had been funded through the programme.

I am really pleased to confirm that €450,000 has been secured to continue the programme into 2024.

Under the Access to Apprenticeship Initiative, a €3,000 bursary is also available to support those who are experiencing severe socioeconomic disadvantage. €500,000 is allocated in 2024 for this bursary and the initiative is delivered at TU Shannon, expanding to all Education and Training Boards, as well as TUS Limerick, Athlone, MTU and ATU Galway.

Building on these actions, I strongly share the objective reflected in the Deputy’s question of continuing to provide greater opportunities for young people from the Traveller community to participate in apprenticeships.