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ETBI Welcomes Announcement of New Apprenticeships

ETBI General Secretary, Michael Moriarty, enthusiastically welcomed today’s announcement by Education Ministers O’Sullivan and English that a decision has been made to virtually double the number of apprenticeships that will be available to young people leaving school.

According to Mr Moriarty:

This decision reflects the State’s commitment to continuing the reform of Further Education and Training (FET) that commenced with the establishment of 16 Education and Training Boards in 2013, which gave them responsibility for both further education and training – a devolvement very much in line with good practice in the strong economies of northern Europe.

For many years ETBI and its predecessor, IVEA, have been calling for such a development and it is very pleasing to see both Donegal and Cavan-Monaghan ETBs centrally involved in the development of the new apprenticeships.

In many ways, today’s announcement is as significant as Donogh O’Malley’s 1966 announcement of free second-level education. Today’s announcement signals a very practical and timely recognition of a new educational reality.

For too long, we have been seduced into believing that that the key to social and economic success lies in ‘going to college’. In racing parlance, we have bet the house on the third-level horse, and this has left significant numbers of disillusioned third-level graduates either unemployed or employed in semi-skilled or low-skilled jobs.

Studies across the world conclude that for the foreseeable future, even in high tech economies, some 50% of the workforce will require medium-level skills and a further 15% will require low-level skills. In many sectors, all of these skills can be provided through apprenticeship programmes.

Then, if the qualified apprentice wishes to proceed to third-level education when s/he is more mature, there will be attractive educational pathways available to facilitate this. The educational landscape is changing and it is important that young people, their parents and teachers are aware of these developments.

In concluding his remarks, Mr Moriarty said it was ‘particularly pleasing to note the high level of interest among employers in the development of new apprenticeships, because their involvement is critical to ensuring that the curriculum for the off-job-training element of an apprenticeship is aligned to the needs of the workplace and, of course, to the provision of on-the-job training.’



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