The Government has today launched a new five-year plan to overhaul the apprenticeship system, a Fine Gael Minister has said. The plan will increase the number of new apprentices to 10,000 every year from 2025 and introduce a new grant for employers who take on apprentices.

Minister Heydon said: “I very much welcome the new Apprenticeship Action Plan, launched by my Fine Gael colleague Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris TD. “It is time to share the secret that is apprentices with the country. Apprenticeship is good for the learner and it is good for business. “This new plan will reform the system, making it easier to become an apprentice and a financial asset to take on an apprentice. “If you are an employer, the Government will introduce a new grant for apprenticeship and offer you additional incentives if you take on an apprentice from underrepresented groups. “If you are a learner, we are going to broaden the range of apprenticeships including in the public service, in health, farming and green skills,” Minister Heydon said.

The plan commits to:

  • Increasing the number of new apprentices to 10,000 every year from 2025;
  • Creating a new Apprenticeship Office to drive reforms;
  • Introducing a new grant for employers who take on apprentices;
  • Additional financial supports for employers who take on apprentices from under-represented groups such as female apprentices, or lone-parents, people with disabilities, or members of the Travelling community;
  • Targets for the public sector to take on apprentices and to create cross-sector apprentices;
  • New cross-border apprentice programmes and potential for apprenticeships to study abroad.

Minister Harris said: “This is a really exciting plan and offers a renewed focus on apprenticeships. “We have made significant progress in recent years but we know we need to do more. We have listened to businesses and apprentices and today, we launch the foundations of a new and improved system.

“I strongly believe that this route provides the best option to grow apprentice numbers and providing a visible signal to employers and everyone out there that apprenticeship is a real choice for employers and learners who want to grow and develop skills and achieve qualifications.”