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ETBI is delighted to host a dedicated instructor recruitment web page, through which potential candidates can access the array of 100+ new craft apprenticeship instructor roles available across our sixteen member ETBs. Check listings here

100+ new jobs to aid the recovery of craft apprenticeship training in the wake of Covid-19

  • Minister Simon Harris TD and Minister of State Niall Collins TD welcome the recruitment, part of a €20m Government boost to this critical sector 
  • Recruitment to roll out across ETBs regionally on an ongoing and phased basis
  • Instructor and support staff posts will support the backlog of training craft apprentices, caused by the Covid-19 pandemic 

Today, 29 October 2021, Education and Training Boards and the Further Education and Training Authority SOLAS announce the creation of over 100 forthcoming new instructor and support staff posts, facilitated regionally the ETBs around the country. 

These posts are part of the previously announced plan to tackle the backlog of craft apprentices within the system, which built up as a result of training centre closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Simon Harris TD, said: “Myself and my colleagues across Government are keenly aware of the vital importance of getting craft apprentices back into their programmes as quickly as possible. The announcement of today’s recruitment drive is a very important part of ensuring this happens. I welcome the creation of these jobs, which come as a direct result of the €20m investment the Government has made to address this issue head-on. These posts will support the important recovery of craft apprenticeships and will have a significant and positive knock-on effect on sectors such as construction, electrical and engineering.

Apprenticeships are critical to wider society – craft apprentices will help furthering our goals under Housing For All for example, skills such as these cannot be underestimated.”

Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins TD, said: “I would warmly encourage those across the industry and trades to consider applying for these vital instructor roles with your local ETB. By coming aboard, you will have a direct impact on the development of a much-needed future generation of workers with the critical skills necessary for furthering the Irish economy.” 

Commenting today, Mary-Liz Trant, SOLAS Executive Director said: “I’d like to thank all of our instructors, Training Centre managers and other education and training colleagues who are working so hard on tackling the craft apprentice backlog. Getting apprentices back on track as soon as possible is an absolute priority.”

Welcoming the cross-sectoral initiative, Paddy Lavelle, General Secretary of Education & Training Boards Ireland (ETBI) said: “ETBI is delighted to support the recruitment drive element of this plan by hosting an instructor recruitment web page on www.etbi.ie . Through it, potential candidates can access the array of craft apprenticeship instructor and support roles available across our sixteen member Education & Training Boards.”

Understanding the craft apprenticeship backlog

Covid-19 has significantly impacted craft apprenticeship programmes. For 9 of the previous 18 months, all FET and Higher Education training centres were closed. 

However, where possible under public health guidance, during that period training continued. For example, between March-August 2021 approximately 4,500 apprentices were returned to onsite training to complete their practical training and all assessments. This work was done using Level 5 protocols for the Further and Higher Education systems. 

A new term of phase 4 and 6 training in higher education institutions recommenced on September 27th with around 2,500 phase 4 and 6 apprentices commencing their training, and it is anticipated 1,000 – 1,500 apprentices will commence phase 2 training between now and the end of the calendar year.

However, the closure of training centres for such long periods has resulted in significant backlogs in training. At present there are approximately 9,700 apprentices awaiting phase 2, 4 and 6 training.

Three-step plan to address the backlog

A three-step plan to tackle these backlogs is currently being worked on with further and higher education apprenticeship providers. 

  • Step 1 is to develop new training workshops across Further and Higher Education to ensure more capacity is in the system to train apprentices. €20m has been allocated to SOLAS and HEA (10m each) to develop this additional capacity and this work is advancing.  
  • Steps 2 and 3 involve tailored emergency approaches to accelerate the throughput of apprentices at phase 2 and phase 7. At phase 2, urgent blended approaches to training have been agreed to significantly increase the number of phase 2 apprentices to be trained on an annual basis by ETBs.
  • The initial focus has been on the three programmes with the largest waiting lists: electrical, plumbing and carpentry & joinery.

The plan is to have 100% of those waiting to be returned to workshop-based training during 2022.

Recruitment drive

To achieve the above, there is a requirement for a significant increase in staffing resources. 

The 100+ posts announced today will be split between instructing posts across the three programmes and supporting posts which are vital to the delivery of apprenticeship at ETB level. 

The jobs announced today will be advertised and filled by ETBs on the ground on a rolling, phased basis over the coming months. The available jobs will be posted via www.etbi.ie.

To see available jobs, check here