Ireland is crying out for more apprenticeship opportunities according to some councillors.

Calls for increased vocational learning

Cork and Ireland as a whole need to offer more apprenticeships to fill a void of educational needs in towns and villages.

That’s according to Cllr Ian Doyle who is calling on the Education and Training Board Ireland (ETBI) to consider expanding the range of courses available to people leaving second level education in rural Ireland.

The Fianna Fáil councillor said over the past 10-15 years, vocational schools, previously known as ‘techs’, have been transferred to the ETB and as a result, some rural areas have lost a cohort of educational options.

“Not all our children are going to go on to third level colleges and I think there is a need there now,” said Cllr Doyle.

According to Labour Cllr James Kennedy, there has been a lot of “snobbishness” in Ireland towards vocational education and people who work with their hands. He said people who are working with their hands, inventing things or making things are every bit as valuable as people who go down the academic route.

On 19 April, Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, and Minister of State for Skills and Further Education, Niall Collins, launched the Action Plan for Apprenticeship 2021-2025.

The plan sets out a five-year strategy to deliver on the Programme for Government commitment of reaching 10,000 new apprentice registrations per year by 2025.

Cllr and Chair of Cork ETB Patrick Gerard Murphy (FF) said Minister Harris supports the expansion of further education and the capacity to deliver in more remote areas.

“I think we are trying to go down that road and develop a broader range of apprenticeships across many sectors. There is a lot of work going on around that,” he said.