Government launch Fine Gael plan to reform apprenticeships – O’Donnell

Press Release
Kieran O’Donnell TD
Limerick City Constituency

Monday 19th April 2021

Government launch Fine Gael plan to reform apprenticeships – O’Donnell

The Government has today launched a new five-year plan to overhaul the apprenticeship system, Limerick & North Tipperary Fine Gael TD Kieran O’Donnell has said.

The plan will increase the number of new apprentices to 10,000 every year from 2025 and introduce a new grant for employers who take on apprentices.

Deputy Kieran O’Donnell said: “I very much welcome the new Apprenticeship Action Plan, launched by my Fine Gael colleague Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris TD.

“It is time to share the secret that is apprentices with the country. Apprenticeship is good for the learner and it is good for business.

“This new plan will reform the system, making it easier to become an apprentice and a financial asset to take on an apprentice.

“If you are an employer, the Government will introduce a new grant for apprenticeship and offer you additional incentives if you take on an apprentice from underrepresented groups.

“If you are a learner, we are going to broaden the range of apprenticeships including in the public service, in health, farming and green skills,” Deputy O’Donnell said.

The plan commits to:

  • Increasing the number of new apprentices to 10,000 every year from 2025;
  • Creating a new Apprenticeship Office to drive reforms;
  • Introducing a new grant for employers who take on apprentices;
  • Additional financial supports for employers who take on apprentices from under-represented groups such as female apprentices, or lone-parents, people with disabilities, or members of the Travelling community;
  • Targets for the public sector to take on apprentices and to create cross-sector apprentices;
  • New cross-border apprentice programmes and potential for apprenticeships to study abroad.

Minister Harris said: “This is a really exciting plan and offers a renewed focus on apprenticeships.

“We have made significant progress in recent years but we know we need to do more. We have listened to businesses and apprentices and today, we launch the foundations of a new and improved system.

“I strongly believe that this route provides the best option to grow apprentice numbers and providing a visible signal to employers and everyone out there that apprenticeship is a real choice for employers and learners who want to grow and develop skills and achieve qualifications.”


Note to Editors:

Plan objectives

2021 Q2 Increase the online visibility of apprenticeship engagement and apprenticeship development processes for employers/sectors who wish to assess the potential for new apprenticeship development.
SOLAS to require all apprenticeship vacancies to be advertised  (Q2/3) OR linked to
Link through from The Right Course
2021 Q4 Agree and create structures to provide for the growth of apprenticeship – NAO
2021 Q4 Agree structures and planning for the migration of craft apprenticeship – engage with unions and providers on migration plans
2021 Q3 Seek funding through the Estimates process to deliver on commitments in the Plan
1) Cost of NAO and
2) Employer grant programme (2.5-3k grant to employers)
3) Expansion/establishment of apprentice and employer bursaries
2021 Q4 In HEC Bill
(1) Remove legislative barriers to development of apprenticeship  programmes in areas arising from existing legislation
(2) Deliver legislative recognition of the National Apprenticeship  Office
2021 Q4 Deliver initial study of employment outcomes of apprenticeships over time.
2021 Q4 Year-end update to Government and steps for 2022
2022 Q1 The existing female bursary for craft apprenticeships will be extended to all apprenticeship programmes with greater than 80% representation of a single gender
2022 Q1 Launch of Employer grants
2022 Q1 Deliver bursary programme to fund up to 100 apprentices per annum who are experiencing socio-economic disadvantage and who are from target groups, including lone parents, people with disabilities, Travellers and Roma.
2022 Q2-3 Develop and provide centralised supports for apprenticeship consortia to include:
– Support and enhance networks for formal and informal peer learning (eg QA Forum, subject/sector specific groupings)
– Opportunities for engagement on developing skills needs, collaboration with RSF;
– Supports to build in-company training capacity and training programmes for mentors;
– Provide regular CPD Training for employers on governance, assessments and QA, including a pilot shared visiting assessor scheme.
2022 Q1 Introduce annual employer base grant per registered apprentice in programmes not subject to direct payment of Training Allowance by ETBs.
2022 Q1 Assess the potential for cross-border apprenticeship programmes to enhance Ireland’s ability to respond to skills needs as an all-island economy.
2022 Q3 Formal commitment from Departments to be published as part of the Government’s Apprenticeship Recruitment Plan which will target a minimum of 750 apprentice registrations per annum by 2025.
2022 Q4 Year end update to Government and steps for 2023
2023 Q4 Deliver pilot programmes for access to international placements for apprentices through existing Erasmus+ placements or, where a programme is suitable, through international on-the-job placements.
2023 Q4 Year end update to Government and steps for 2024
2024 Q4 Year end update to Government and steps for 2025
2025 Q4 Complete migration of craft apprenticeships to distributed delivery model


2021-04-19T11:56:11+00:00 April 19th, 2021|Categories: News|