€400,000 boost for agri mechanisation course

An agricultural mechanisation course located in the south-west will receive a €400,000 boost as part of plans to invest €8 million in 13 different apprenticeship programmes across 10 institutes of technology.

News of the funding was revealed earlier this week by: the Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton; the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor; and the Minister of State for Training, Skills, Innovation and Research and Development, John Halligan.

The Government has committed to more than doubling the number of new apprentices registered to 9,000 by 2020, as well as pledging to expand further into new areas.

As part of Budget 2018, a total of €122 million was allocated for apprenticeship training – this represented an increase of almost 24% on the previous year.

It is hoped that this will allow the Government to deliver 10 more apprenticeship programmes and over 6,000 more apprenticeship registrations in 2018.

The funding announced this week will enable institutes of technology to purchase equipment and carry out enabling works for the delivery of new syllabi in 13 existing apprenticeship trades from 2018.

‘Great casualties’

Commenting on the funding, Minister Bruton explained that apprenticeships “were one of the great casualties of the recession – registrations fell by 80% over the period”.

Continuing, he said: “I am determined during my time as minister to not only reverse this trend and rebuild traditional pathways, but to significantly expand apprenticeships into new industries.

Building strong pathways to education is key to delivering on our ambition to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe by 2026.

“We’ve committed to doubling the number of apprenticeships and traineeships by 2020.

“[This] investment will enable institutes of technology across the country to purchase equipment and update their infrastructure, so that they can deliver new modernised syllabi in 13 trades – from brickwork to aircraft maintenance – supporting almost 2,300 apprentices that will commence one of these programmes this year.

“Apprenticeships and traineeships offer fantastic opportunities and I’d encourage any person interested to consider them when looking at their career options,” he concluded.