Following a period of boom and bust in apprenticeship over the past 10 years which mirrored the performance of the Irish economy, apprentice numbers are now growing steadily year-on-year. In 2006 there were 8,306 apprentice registrations, these fell to 1,204 in 2010. In 2018, however, the number of registrations is due to exceed 5,000, growing further in 2019 and 2020.
The growth of apprenticeship numbers is underpinned by a national policy to establish apprenticeship as a major route to skills development in Ireland. The policy followed a 2013 Review of Apprenticeship Training in Ireland and was further articulated in 2016 in an Action Plan to Expand Apprenticeship and Traineeship 2016 – 2020. Apprenticeship is proven as an effective way to build the pipeline of talent within industries, and the Irish apprenticeship system has a strong track record in this regard. The Irish economy is growing again, with many industries reporting either current or future shortages of skilled workers. The Government has committed to investing significantly in the expansion of apprenticeship to respond to this need.
Five areas for action