Ireland is forging ahead on expansion of its apprenticeship system to meet 21st century skills needs and to support dynamic growth of our economy and society.
There are currently 36 apprenticeship programmes available in Ireland, with a further 16 programmes currently in active development and they are due to be available this year. Apprenticeships have long been an accelerator for individual and corporate development in Ireland and now the major expansion project. Generation Apprenticeship aims to promote a new generation of Apprenticeships in Ireland and aims to increase the number of Apprentices in Ireland to 30,000 by 2020.
New figures compiled by Solas, the Further Education and Training Authority, show apprenticeships jumped from 10,445 in 2016 to 12,849 last year, a 24% increase. Electrical apprenticeships were most popular, followed by construction, engineering, plumbing and carpentry. As part of the Generation Apprenticeship campaign, an innovative national competition celebrating design, team work and problem-solving skills is currently underway. The competition involves teams of apprentices creating 6-foot, 3-dimensional A letters using a diverse range of design skills. Materials and techniques being used to design and construct the 3-dimensional As include a range of moving parts, electronics, wood, metal, stone, piping, water and electrical circuits. Each team is recording video diaries of their work over the coming weeks and posting updates on their progress via social media.
The teams are working to a deadline of 30 March 2018, with entries then to be exhibited in the Arts Garden and interior of the National College of Ireland. The entries will be open to viewing by the public from 6th-30th April in the College. A gala awards ceremony will be held at the end of the exhibition to announce the winning entry which will become a permanent installation.
In addition to receiving support from the Department of Education and Skills and SOLAS, the CIF is proud to sponsor the competition along with ESB. An independent judging panel will select the winning entry with reference to the competition criteria of design skills, teamwork, critical thinking and problem-solving. There will be a digital award for the team which has made the most innovative use of social media for the duration of the competition.