Wicklow Sinn Féin TD John Brady has expressed deep concern at 10,300 craft apprenctices awaiting off-the-job education training according to figures released from the Department of Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.
Off-the-job-training, or Block Releases, take place at Education and Training Board (ETB) centres and Institutes of Technology across the state and forms an essential part of the apprenticeship training for skilled workers.
Deputy Brady said: “To have 10, 300 apprentices waiting to complete their off-the-job-training is simply not acceptable. Having completed an apprenticeship myself in my teens, I am very aware of the value that is offered to our apprentices through their off-the-job-training.
“The standard amongst Irish trades is among the best in the world and the learning outcomes that have been delivered to our apprentices in the past through off-the-job-training has allowed for the development of a skills baseline across the board. Apprentices are often given skills challenges within their off-the-job-training that they may not encounter with their employer.
“What is doubly concerning is the fact that of the 10,300 apprentices left on a waiting list, 70% of these are in one of three apprenticeships, which are key to our construction industry – Electrical, Plumbing and Carpentry and Joinery.”
Brady has called on Wicklow Fine Gael TD and Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris to increase the resources allocated to these programmes in order to stimulate construction industry staff during the ongoing housing crisis.