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Ministers Harris and Collins announce €17.2 million capital funding to support apprenticeship in further and higher education

Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science Simon Harris TD and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education Niall Collins TD have today announced the roll-out of €17.2 million in capital funding to respond to the growing demand for apprenticeships.

This builds on the €20 million Apprenticeship Capital Fund investment in 2021 across both the further and higher education sectors. 

The funding includes:

  • The development of two large training hubs dedicated to electrical training for the next three years;
  • Expansion of electrical, plumbing and carpentry programmes across further and higher education;
  • The construction of electrical workshops at Kilkenny and Carlow ETB and the development of a training facility in Donegal;
  • A call for additional phase 2 capacity in craft programmes that include carpentry, plumbing and refrigeration
  • Expansion of electrical apprenticeships in ATU Donegal and MTU Kerry.

Speaking today, Minister Harris said: “Today’s investment is key to responding to the growth in apprenticeship numbers.

“Last year, we recorded the highest number of apprenticeships ever. Over the course of the next few years, we will need to continue to adapt our infrastructure to adapt to these growing numbers.

"The investment reaffirms the Government’s strong commitment to enhancing and expanding the apprenticeship system and ensuring that access to cutting edge equipment positions apprenticeships as a valued and attractive path for people seeking third level.”

It is anticipated that in excess of 15,000 apprentices will be trained in 2022, an increase of some 34% on those training in 2019. 

Minister Collins said: "Craft apprentice registrations have experienced a marked increase in interest over the past 4 years with a record 8,607 new apprentices registered in 2021.  The support announced today will go some way towards addressing the capacity needs across the craft apprenticeships, particularly in the electrical, plumbing and metal fabrication programmes.

“This development will benefit Government policy including the Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021 – 2025, Housing for All and the National Retrofit Plan.”

The expansion of the national apprenticeship system has been a key government priority since 2016.

The €17.2 million will be allocated by SOLAS and the HEA across Education and Training Boards (ETBs), Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities.



Notes to the Editor

The Apprenticeship fund introduced in SOLAS and the HEA will see SOLAS allocated €12.6m in 2022 with €4.6m allocated to the HEA for apprenticeship capital investment.

SOLAS and the HEA will determine how the funding will be allocated across apprenticeship programmes and providers. However, the immediate focus will be on expansion of capacity with the main focus on Phase 2, particularly for electrical.

Apprenticeship programme

Apprenticeship is a programme of structured education and training which formally combines and alternates learning in the workplace with learning in an education and training institution. An apprenticeship prepares participants for a specific occupation and leads to a qualification on the National Framework of Qualifications.

Phase 2 off-the-job training is provided by the ETBs, under the oversight of SOLAS, with Phases 4 and 6 delivered by the Technological Universities/Institutes of Technology, under the oversight of the HEA.

There were a total of 8,607 registrations on 63 apprenticeship programmes in 2021 of which 6,955 registrations were on the 25 craft programmes alone.  These are the highest registration figures since 2007.