The process of preparing the new Apprenticeship Action Plan 2021 to 2025 is already underway. It will consider all aspects of the current system together with relevant international research to ensure we have an apprenticeship system best placed to respond to long term economic needs and which will be resilient and flexible enough to meet short term challenges.
Apprenticeships in Ireland have evolved into a system that provides employment opportunities with integrated education and training programmes at Levels 5 to 10 on the National Qualifications Framework. It involves multiple providers within the further and higher education system working in partnership with a broad range of employers and other stakeholders.
The Action Plan will look at new ways of structuring, funding, and promoting apprenticeships. It will advance the development of a consolidated apprenticeship system with a single coherent model of governance, that is appropriate to the system that has evolved, and is inclusive of stakeholders. Such a model will seek to:
· deliver of the highest standards of industry led, work based training;
· position apprenticeship as a valued and attractive path to sought after qualifications within the Further and Higher Education system;
· be agile and responsive to changing labour market needs and economic cycles;
· encourage and support increased participation by employers across all sectors of the economy;
· provide for greater adoption of apprenticeship at institutional level and integration with the quality assurance and general learning environment of the Further and Higher education system;
· encourage diversity and support participation by underrepresented groups.
The Consultation Process
A successful apprenticeship system is built on close collaboration, and opportunities for dialogue, across a wide range of stakeholders. These include employers, employees and their respective representative groups, educational providers, career guidance professionals, young people, and their parents. The public bodies responsible for funding, governance and quality assurance of the education and training system have a key role to play.
This Consultation Paper is the first step in a comprehensive consultation process to seek the input of stakeholders to the development of the new Action Plan. Submissions received will form the basis for further discussion with stakeholders to develop the actions and timeframes for inclusion in the new Plan. Subject to developments in relation to Covid-19 this will involve online or face to face meetings and workshops during September and October. Where appropriate, online surveys will also be conducted.
The paper is structured as follows: Section 1 describes the current governance and operational framework for apprenticeship. Section 2 outlines the current funding arrangements and considerations in relation to the cost distribution model for apprenticeship for stakeholders. Section 3 looks at participation and diversity in apprenticeship. Section 4 contains a series of questions to help frame responses to the paper. Responses to the consultation paper are requested by Friday 18 September 2020.
The Government need your help to find out why, despite the successes of recent years, more learners and employers are not engaging with the system. They need your ideas on how to make apprenticeship more attractive and more accessible to women and people with disabilities. They need to know your views on the substantial changes that have taken place in apprenticeship and on how they can build a strong model for the future.
Please help if you can, by reading the Consultation Paper HERE and by providing your input if you have any experience or ideas on this matter. Your input could make a massive difference.