Earn While You Learn

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

Do you yearn to learn?

Are you considering going back to education as a mature student this year? Maybe you’ve always wanted to study but life got in the way, or maybe you put off college until the kids were older, or maybe you’ve decided to change career. Regardless of your reasons, going to college as a mature student can be a daunting prospect. Being a mature student is different to coming straight from school, it’s not easier or harder, just different.

REGSA are running two presentations this Thursday 12th January to help mature students to navigate the CAO application, this is a helpful first step on your journey into third level.

Click here to learn more about the CAO presentations 

regsa_logo_2 mature students


Our top tips for going to college as a mature student are: 

  1. Make time for study – you have a busy life, all adults do, but you’re here to learn so make sure you block out time and a space in your home to dedicate to your studies
  2. Go to lectures – you don’t get context, discussion or depth from class notes so, where possible, make sure you attend all lectures
  3. Enjoy yourself – you’ve chosen to study, you’ve decided to invest in your education so enjoy every minute of it

Coffee & Connect Employer Event at Parlour Vintage Tearooms

Edward Kavanagh & Liam Murphy of Department of Social Protection
Edward Kavanagh and Liam Murphy from Department of Social Protection

Employers from all over the city, large and small, came together last Wednesday 7th December to learn more about the resources and incentives available through employment support agencies in Waterford. The employer event was hosted by Waterford Area Partnership in association with Department of Social Protection, Waterford Chamber Skillnet, WWETB and Waterford Local Employment Service at Parlour Vintage Tearooms. The agencies involved are aiming to create an Employer’s Network, where employers can be informed of the incentives available to them, can use the resources of the network to recruit and train employees and can help to mould the nature of services offered into the future.

Some of the attendees at the Coffee & Connect Event

Speaking at the event, Mags O Connor of Waterford City Local Employment Service said; “We are here to help, we are keenly aware of the fact that many employers do not know what incentives are available to them. We would like to work with employers to ensure we are meeting their needs, while ultimately driving our core aim of reducing unemployment in our city. There is a wealth of resources and incentives available to all employers, large and small, from the €10,000 available through the Department of Social Protection’s Jobs Plus Scheme to the new apprenticeships coming down the line through WWETB such as butchery, ICT and commis chef, and from the two week no risk work trial from Waterford Area Partnership to the generous training subsidies available through Waterford Chamber Skillnet.”

Staff from WAP & WCLES at Coffee & Connect event
Staff from WAP & WCLES at Coffee & Connect event

The Coffee & Connect event was an introductory employer event, there will be more to follow in the New Year. Waterford Area Partnership funded the event, which raised €250 for WLR FM’s Christmas Appeal in aid of St Vincent de Paul, donating €5 from every cup of tea and coffee that was enjoyed on the morning. “We are delighted to be able to contribute to the Christmas Appeal,” says Gayle Barry of Waterford Area Partnership, “When you hear that 1 in 9 households in Waterford need the help of St Vincent de Paul, you realise that, while the unemployment rate has fallen, there are still those who are less fortunate in our community so we are thrilled to be able to help in some small way.”

Kelly Cummins & Sara Mullally of Waterford Chamber Skillnet
Kelly Cummins & Sara Mullally of Waterford Chamber Skillnet


If you are an employer in Waterford and you are interested in hearing about the incentives available please sign up for our Employer Newsletter here and you will be kept informed of upcoming events and workshops.