Apprenticeships have long been a way to gain skills, experience and qualifications, while earning money to support yourself. If you look to mainland Europe, apprenticeships are every bit as viable an education option as third level, take Germany for example, where there are 300+ apprenticeships available across a wide range of sectors. For some reason, Ireland has always treated apprenticeships as ‘second best’ to third level and so we have long encouraged our children to go on to third level, without much consideration for apprenticeship options. To be fair, there have traditionally been very few sectors where an apprenticeship is an option.
It’s great to see that this is changing. New apprenticeships have recently been introduced in sectors as varied as insurance and hospitality. There is an opportunity for many sectors to develop apprenticeships in areas where there is a real skills need such as ICT, engineering, pharma and professional services. There’s a body of work to be done in promoting apprenticeships as an option for school leavers and this can be achieved through educating people on the benefits of this model. In addition to the cost savings that are available by virtue of the candidate being paid, there are huge benefits in terms of the apprentice getting real on-the-job experience and building a network of relevant contacts. Employers get the genuine advantage of being able to train their future workforce to their own high standards.
You’ll see on our Jobs and Opportunities page that both ESB and GSK are currently recruiting for apprentices – we hope that this page will become full of apprenticeship opportunities as new and exciting programmes are launched over the coming years