The plan to haul apprenticeships into the 21st century – Irish Times Article


“The plan to haul apprenticeships into the 21st century”


  • Up to 1 in 6 students are not progressing past their first year of higher education because they have not chosen a suitable course for them
  • Major skill shortages in key areas of the economy
  • Youth unemployment still stands at approx. 20%
  • Ireland has one of the highest proportions of 3rd level but a report from the OECD in 2015 showed that more than 40% of people are working in an area that does not match their qualification
  • SOLAS are preparing an overhaul of apprenticeships and in the next 3-5 years, they hope to have about 100 options spanning from certificate to postgraduate masters
  • SOLAS want to replicate the success of the Swedish Apprenticeship Model where 70% of all 15-19 year olds participate in an apprenticeship
  • In Ireland, further education and training has an “image-problem” – young people from more affluent areas are more likely to progress to college rather than further education and training even if they aren’t suited to a 3rd level course
  • Numbers in Ireland doing apprenticeships during the recession plummeted:
    • 2007 – 29,000
    • 2013 – 5,711
    • 2016 – 7,500
  • “Irish people tend to define educational attainment in terms of CAO points scored and 3rd level entry” – Tony Donohoe, Head of Social and Education Policy @ the Irish Business and Employers Confederation
  • Currently there are 7500 apprentices in the system but only 35 of them are female
  • SOLAS will look to offer a bursary to employers who take on female apprentices
  • SOLAS and HEA hope apprenticeships will reduce the rate of college dropouts
  • Apprenticeships allow the person to learn and earn at the same time and their weekly income will increase each year



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