Recruitment of New Apprenticeships a year behind Target by 456 Placements!
According to an Oireachtas Education Committee review, it was highlighted that while it was hoped 976 new apprenticeship positions would be filled by the end of 2018, uptake only stands at 520 so far for the year.
Why is this, when at JobAlert.ie we're constantly being asked by young people for more information on Apprenticeship opportunities? Feedback we're receiving suggests that they cannot easily find employers willing to take them on.
IBEC noted a lack of employer buy in, suggesting that the cost of having to pay a salary while an apprentice attended college was an issue. An example given showed that a Manufacturing Engineer Apprentice in one organisation cost the firm €90,000. They suggested that more financial support be given to employers who actively take on Apprentices through the newly devised Apprenticeship Schemes, bringing funding in line with traditional Craft Apprenticeships that receive support through the National Training Fund.
The talks were attended by Solas, Skillnet Ireland, the Technical Higher Education Association, FIT, IBEC, ETB and the Department of Education and Skills. It was also highlighted that opting to pursue an Apprenticeship can carry an "unwarranted stigma" to students with pressure to pursue a university course instead. True, we have also found this and we recently did an article on this very subject, it's a good read - Are we Talking our Kids out of Apprenticeships!
The Committee was eager to explore ways of encouraging second level school leavers to take up Apprenticeships and on job training as a way to address the real skill shortages experienced in Ireland at the moment. This is particularly evident in the Hotel and Hospitality Industry.
Dr. Phillip Smyth, Head of Shannon College of Hotel Management, who operate placements throughout Ireland in the hospitality industry, noted that negative perceptions exist regarding the hospitality industry and currently there's a low uptake on placements and traineeships. He said that the prestige of Apprenticeships has declined and that "while there is still great respect for tradespersons, this area has been overwhelmed by discourse on "points", CAO deadlines, College places, change of mind dates, accommodation and so on."
Dr. Smyth said that admission to hospitality programmes is declining in an industry where at least 60,000 additional jobs will be created in the next ten years. This is obviously very worrying for employers in this industry who he said are "pessimistic" about filling these jobs domestically.
It was also suggested that the Leaving Certificate Curriculum should include a separate subject in Tourism and Hospitality taking into account that 1 in 9 of Ireland's working population are currently employed in this industry.
It was raised that a lot of progress has been made in the area of Apprenticeships and it's gaining momentum, but we still have a long way to go to meet the demand for qualified employees now and in the future and to bring Ireland in line with other EU Countries.
It was noted that school liaison officers also have a big part to play in promoting Apprenticeships and Traineeships to students and that better support and governance needs to be provided to support service providers and employers by the Government.
But what about parents, at the moment it seems that educational achievements are defined more in terms of CAO points achieved and University offers granted. Great for those who wish to pursue this line of education, but we also need to develop and provide more real alternative learning opportunities for all students of all ages, ambition and ability to be totally inclusive.
For another article on this subject check out here; Are we talking our kids out of Apprenticeships
For apprentice positions go to www.jobalert.ie
Watch the review - video recording here