'We are starting to see an increase' - Harris welcomes 117% rise in women apprentices
The Minister for Further and Higher Education has welcomed a 117% increase in the number of females apprentices.
It follows news of a record-breaking number of of people overall pursuing apprenticeships in Ireland.
Speaking today, Minister Simon Harris said women make up "a fraction" of the apprentice population, but that it is important to see numbers continuing to rise.
He said, "Crucially, we are starting to see an increase in the number of female apprentices. When I was first appointed, there were 706 apprentices. Today, that figure is 1,535.
"This year we will be working to increase participation amongst traditionally under-represented groups, including females. In a further support measure this year, we have introduced an employer grant of €2,000 for employers of apprentices on consortia-led programmes to help level up the supports which other categories of employers receive."
A total of 8,600 new apprentices were registered in 2021, marking a significant step towards the Apprenticeship Action Plan goal of 10,000 by 2025.
The minister continued: "We have much more we want to achieve including developing more apprenticeship programmes; 6,955 of our new apprenticeships are in craft apprentices and they are badly needed. But we have much more to offer including hairdressing, ICT, accounting, insurance among others."
Director of the new National Apprenticeship Office, Mary-Liz Trant, also commented on the news.
She said, "Apprenticeship is now growing fast as an ‘earn as you learn’ skills and career option for people of all ages and backgrounds, and as a way for employers to find and retain talent. New apprenticeship programmes will be added this year, in more industries, soon there will be an apprenticeship route on offer within every 21st century industry in Ireland."
Minister Harris also announced the purchase of a major new training facility for Galway-Roscommon ETB, which will reportedly double the number of spaces available for apprentices in training workshops and classrooms.
The Cambride Building in Mervue Business Park in Galway city extends to 36,769 sq ft and was purchased for €5,164,250.
The minister said the news "ties in perfectly" with the Apprenticeship Action Plan.
He said, "Since I became Minister, I’ve been privileged to visit many ETB centres across the country, and I’ve seen first-hand how hard staff, employers and learners are working to train people with the skills that Ireland urgently requires to meet its societal and economic needs.
"However, I have also seen that many of these ETBs are operating in difficult conditions, and it is the responsibility of Government and my department to ensure the facilities are put in place so that each ETB can give apprentices the best possible chance of success.
The facility is expected to provide new craft workshops for electrical, plumbing, carpentry and joinery, metal fabrication and pipefitting, with the possibility of delivering more FET fulltime/part-time programs in future.
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