Apprenticeship is a programme of structured education and training which formally combines and alternates learning in the work place with learning in an education or training centre.

It is a dual system, a blended combination of on-the-job employer-based training and off-the-job training which:

  • prepares the participant for a specific occupation, and
  • leads to a qualification nationally recognised on the National Framework of Qualifications from Level 5-Level 10.

Apprentices are employed by an approved employer for the duration of the programme which is generally between 2-4 years. Apprenticeship programmes provide at least 50% workplace based learning.

Types of Apprenticeship

Craft Apprenticeships

​Since the 1970s it is estimated that over 105,000 apprentices have been trained in Ireland. In 2016 alone there were over 3,700 new registrations on craft apprenticeships in a range of sectors including Engineering, Electrical, Motor and Construction.

A craft apprentice is someone training to become a fully qualified craftsperson. Craft apprenticeships are generally comprised of seven phases, three off-the-job and four on-the-job. ​

The QQI Level 6 Advanced Certificate Craft is awarded on successful completion of the craft apprenticeship.

For more information please visit:

I want to become a Craft Apprentice

New Apprenticeships 2016-2020


In 2013 the Minister for Education and Skills, announced a review of apprenticeship training in Ireland which resulted in the formation of the Apprenticeship Council and from this the National Apprenticeship System. A Call for Proposals for apprenticeships in new occupations issued in 2015.

The new Apprenticeships will lead to an award between Levels 5-10 on the National Framework of Qualifications. Each apprenticeship programme can be between 2-4 years in duration. Diverse models of training on-and-off the job are used, as well as different models of delivery and target groups (including those already in employment).

Apprenticeship development and roll-out is overseen by industry-led groups (consortia) working with education and training providers and other partners.  All new apprenticeships developed in Ireland after 2016 will follow this new apprenticeship approach and they will:

  • Be industry led
  • Be two years duration as a minimum
  • Involve learning that alternates between a workplace and an educational or training institute
  • Be a minimum of 50% on the job training
  • Be part of formal Education and Training
  • Be substantial in depth and duration, in order to prepare Apprentices to work autonomously and competently in a specific occupation
  • Apprentices employed and paid under a Contract of Apprenticeship
  • Apprentices paid a salary for the duration of the apprenticeship (on-the-job and off-the-job)

The following new apprenticeships have commenced to date:

For more information please visit:

Role of the HEA in Apprenticeship Provision

New Apprenticeship

  • Review and approve proposals as member of Apprenticeship Council, particular interest in HE proposals both Public and Private Providers.
  •  Agree funding schedule with Public and Private HE providers based on a Unit Cost Model which includes:
    – Recurrent Costs
    – Consortia Costs
    – Student Contribution
  • Monitoring and Reporting role.

Craft Apprenticeship

  • Liaising with SOLAS/DES on developments and plans with regard to apprenticeship operational issues.
  • Liaising with the Institutes of Technology and other educational providers in relation to education provision and capacity for these programmes and advise SOLAS/ Department of Education and Skills.
  • Identifying strategies which increased standards, efficiency and cost effectiveness in delivery and develop policy in consultation with the provider Institutes.
  • Supporting developments in curriculum and assessment for programmes
  • Version 4 syllabus reviews – provision of funding for equipment and enabling works

For more information please contact