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Minister Bruton launches Access to Apprenticeship

Posted: 18 July, 2017

Minister for Education and Skills, Richard Bruton TD launched the Access to Apprenticeship pilot programme in DIT today. Supported by J.P. Morgan and ESB, the programme will run over three phases, from September 2017 to June 2018.

Minister Bruton, President Norton, Carin Byrans of J.P. Morgan and Pat O'Doherty, ESB launch Access to Apprenticeship at DIT

The programme aims to address the current obstacles faced by young people from areas of socio-economic disadvantage in securing an apprenticeship. In its pilot phase, the programme will recruit 48 young people aged 16-24 from communities in Dublin’s inner-city. Developed by a team at the DIT College of Engineering and Built Environment, the pilot programme aims to address key challenges faced by young people from disadvantaged communities in accessing an apprenticeship. The 12-week course will give students the opportunity to experience different types of apprenticeships, as well as taking career and personal development modules, and a dedicated work placement with support from a wide range of employers who accept apprentices. 

Welcoming the Minister, Professor Brian Norton, said “We are delighted that Minister Bruton has agreed to launch this very innovative pilot programme. Drawing on our long experience in apprentice education and our strong record in educational support for young people from areas of socio-economic disadvantage, we believe this programme can offer young people access to developing meaningful careers.  We have been supported most generously and enthusiastically by J.P. Morgan and ESB and we would like to thank them most sincerely for believing in its potential.”

 Commenting on Access to Apprenticeship, Minister Bruton said, “When I was appointed Minister for Education and Skills, I made tackling educational disadvantage a key priority for me as Minister. Since my appointment, I have published and started implementing a new plan to tackle educational disadvantage, as well as extending extra supports to over 100 schools.”

 “Today’s announcement that DIT will run a pilot programme to help people from areas of socio-economic disadvantage is a great initiative. Doing an apprenticeship is an exciting career opportunity for many. Industrial leaders in many sectors place a very high value on a trained apprentice, with many moving into senior managerial roles.”

 “I published and started to implement my Apprenticeship Plan in January. The Plan will double the number of people enrolling in an apprenticeship, as well as expanding the apprenticeship model significantly so that it covers all major economic sectors. The plan aims to make apprenticeship an attractive and respected option for at least 20% of our school leavers. This will require us to forge a new partnership with employers, both in the public and private sectors. Successful engagement with enterprise will drive the growth of apprenticeships and ensure the relevance of work based learning.”

 Participants in this programme will get great experience with a ten-week placement in DIT to try various apprenticeship activities as well as taking modules in personal development, career support and health and safety. They will also benefit from two weeks work experience. The programme is supported by a wide range of employers in the construction, engineering, motor and aviation industries.” 

The Access to Apprenticeship programme is part of a global investment by JPMorgan Chase of $200 million, which is designed to create pathways to opportunity in the regions where they do business by supporting financial capability and development of communities, workforce, and small business.  Speaking at the launch, Carin Bryans, Senior Country Officer Ireland said, “We are delighted to support this initiative with DIT to ensure that local youth is ready and competing for apprenticeships, and ultimately skilled jobs, on a level playing field.” In Ireland, J.P. Morgan supports several programs that help individuals acquire the knowledge, skills and expertise necessary to obtain quality jobs, compete in the global economy and find new pathways to economic opportunity.

 ESB has provided support for the Access to Apprenticeship programme from their Energy for Generations Fund, which disburses €2 million each year across a range of initiatives, primarily in the areas of educational disadvantage, suicide and homelessness. Speaking at the launch today, Chief Executive of ESB, Pat O’Doherty said “ESB has a proud history of offering high-quality apprenticeships resulting in qualifications mainly in electrical and mechanical trades.  Over the years, we have invested very heavily in our apprenticeship programme, and our investment has been rewarded by a stream of talent into the company that is critical to our business, and to serving the nation in a very different energy future. We are delighted to support the DIT ‘Access to Apprenticeship’ programme which will provide local youth with essential skills and knowledge to begin a rewarding career through an apprenticeship.”

Recruitment of the first 16 students to start the programme in September is underway, and this will be followed by two further groups of 16. There is a particular emphasis on ensuring equality of opportunity for both young men and women, and this objective has been endorsed by potential employers who are seeking to encourage young women to join their workforce.