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
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.
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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:
- Insurance Practice
- Industrial Electrical Engineering
- Polymer Processing Technology
- Manufacturing Engineering
- Manufacturing Technology
- Logistics Associate
- Laboratory Technician
- International Financial Services Associate
- International Financial Services Specialist
- Chef de Partie
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Role of the HEA in Apprenticeship Provision
- 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.
- 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
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