Minister Martin Heydon, Fine Gael TD for Kildare South has welcomed the launch of a new five-year plan to overhaul the apprenticeship system.

“The plan launched by my Fine Gael colleague Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris TD. 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.

“The Apprenticeship route has long been recognised as a practical and positive way to learn new skills and develop a career that can last a lifetime.  I am delighted to see the system being expanded and refreshed which will hopefully bring it to a wider group of people for the benefit of both Kildare employers and those seeking new opportunities.

“This new plan will reform the system, making it easier to become an apprentice and of financial benefit to take on an apprentice. For employers, the Government will introduce a new grant for apprenticeship and offer you additional incentives if you take on an apprentice from underrepresented groups.

“For learners, we will broaden the range of opportunities for apprenticeships including in the public service, health, farming and green skills areas.”

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.

“I am excited about these new plans for the apprenticeship system and I look forward to seeing the benefits of them for both employers and apprentices in Kildare. We have made significant progress in recent years but now we need to do more. This plans provides 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.”