20 Aug 2022

People from Carlow will 'earn as they learn' in new transport operator apprenticeships - Harris

People from Carlow will 'earn as they learn' in new transport operator apprenticeships - Harris

According to Minister Harris, industry and education working together to address Ireland's skills shortages is "what we need". 

A new apprenticeship programme for future transport operators and commercial drivers in Carlow and across Ireland has been launched. 

The Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, and Minister of State at the Department of Transport with special responsibility for International and Road Transport and Logistics, Hildegarde Naughton, announced news of the programme today (Thursday May 26). 

The two year programme - backed by stakeholders including Atlantic Technological University and Insurance Ireland - will reportedly provide the opportunity to attain a higher-education qualification as well as a professional driving qualification. 

According to Minister Harris, industry and education working together to address Ireland's skills shortages is "what we need". 

He said, "Under this programme, apprentices are employed by a business for the duration of the two-year programme and will earn as they learn. But in addition to this, apprentices will participate in Lectures in ATU Sligo. This is good news for our economy, good news for businesses and good news for education." 
Minister Naughton said, "This new apprenticeship is an excellent example of a positive collaboration by industry, the education sector and Government to address the challenges currently facing the road freight sector. The professionalisation of the industry and the creation of clear career pathways will attract new entrants to consider a career in freight and logistics. 

"The ongoing crisis in Ukraine, coming on top of Brexit and Covid-19, reminds us of the importance of a fully functioning supply chain, and of the critical role that those working in logistics and transport, including drivers, play every day in bringing essential supplies into and around the country. 

"Their work underpins our key infrastructure, supports Irish business and industry, and enables the maintenance of economic and social activity for the good of all citizens and for society as a whole. 

"I hope in particular that the transport operations and commercial driving apprenticeship will serve as a springboard for the diversification of the workforce in the freight sector and attract more women into the industry." 

Just 2% of people in Ireland with a commercial vehicle license are women, with the launch hoping to attract a new generation of women to the industry. 

Director of the National Apprenticeship Office, Mary-Liz Trant, said, "We are delighted to see a further national apprenticeship now on offer for the freight sector and wish the very best to the Freight Transport Association of Ireland, all of their members and the training provider Atlantic Technological University, Sligo as they get the first intake to the programme underway. 

"The announcement of these exciting new apprenticeships, as well as the recent launch of the gender-based bursary and apprentice employer grants, really shows the pace of change in the sector is accelerating." 

Chief Executive at FTA Ireland, Aidan Flynn, also commented and said, "Road transport is critical to the continued success of Ireland’s supply chain since it accounts for almost 99% of inland freight movements across the country. 

"Yet the pressures on talent to join other careers is placing increasing pressure on recruitment for the sector, which is now struggling to recruit a diverse workforce and has suffered long-standing skills shortages as a result. 

"Apprenticeships are a proven means for new recruits to join a sector while still learning during their workplace training, and we are confident that this new apprenticeship – the 65th launched nationwide – will attract new employees to our vibrant industry and ensure that they can take up one of the many jobs currently on offer once qualified." 

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