Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Department of Education and Skills
John O'Mahony (Mayo, Fine Gael)
Question 194: To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the number of apprentices registered with FÃS that are currently unemployed; the initiatives that are in place or are planned by FÃS to assist these apprentices in completing their apprenticeships; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17478/11]
Ciarán Cannon (Galway East, Fine Gael)
According to information supplied by FÃS to my Department, as at 31st May 2011, the number of apprentices notified to FÃS by employers as being redundant was 5,118. The number of redundant apprentices who can progress in their apprenticeships having reached the minimum qualifying standard to date in off-the-job training and assessment is 3,185 and 1,933 redundant apprentices cannot progress until they have successfully passed their outstanding assessments
A number of initiatives have been taken by FÃS to enable registered redundant apprentices to progress in their apprenticeships:
The rules for off-the-job training were amended to permit redundant apprentices to progress to their next off-the-job training phase of their apprenticeship even though they have not yet completed their previous on-the-job phase. This year to date, 774 have completed off-the-job training and 452 are currently attending off-the-job training.
The Redundant Apprentice Placement Scheme. In order to provide opportunities to assist redundant apprentices to progress in their apprenticeships, FÃS approved employers in the public and private sectors will provide redundant apprentices with training and assessment on-the-job at Phase 3, Phase 5 and Phase 7. As of 17th June 2011, 960 redundant apprentices are currently in on-the-job training phase with employers, and 167 have completed the relevant phase. The scheme aims to provide placement and training for 1,526 redundant apprentices in 2011.
Phase 7 Equivalent Assessments. Redundant apprentices in the trades of Carpentry & Joinery, Cabinet Making, Electrical, Plumbing, Brick & Stonelaying and Plastering who have successfully completed Phase 1 to Phase 6 of their apprenticeships but who have not completed on-the-job Phase 7 Assessments will be scheduled by FÃS to undertake Phase 7 Equivalent Assessments over a period of 4 weeks in a FÃS Training Centre. As at 31st May 2011, 22 redundant apprentices had completed the assessments and 7 redundant apprentices are currently in training. Redundant apprentices eligible to undertake the assessments have been notified by FÃS.
Recognition of Prior Learning Scheme. Redundant apprentices who have successfully completed Phase 1 to Phase 7 of their apprenticeships but who have not completed the statutory 4 years in employment as apprentices may be granted an exemption from this requirement by validating their competence under the Recognition of Prior Learning Scheme. FÃS will invite qualifying redundant apprentices to submit a portfolio of evidence of trade related work experience gained at home and/or abroad and/or trade related training and education. The granting of exemptions is based solely on the portfolios of evidence submitted. As at 31st May 2011, 172 application have been approved and a further 20 applications are in progress
Fee Waiver Scheme. Course fees will be waived for redundant apprentices who attend FÃS day and/or evening courses in order to enhance their employable skills.
Redundant apprentices may also avail of existing specific skills training courses and evening courses available at FÃS Training Centres to enhance their employable skills
Certificate in Craft Transferable Skills. FÃS and the Higher Education Authority with the Institutes of Technology have developed a post Phase 6 programme for redundant apprentices who wish to access a programme at 3rd level in the Institutes of Technology. Redundant apprentices who successfully complete this programme will receive a HETAC Special Award Level 3, 30 ECTS Credits. This award should entitle apprentices to enter year 2 of a relevant Higher Certificate (level 6) and in some particular cases may gain entry to Ordinary Degree Programmes Level 7. The Certificate in Craft Transferable Skills (optional) will be offered by the Institutes of Technology in Term 1 â€“ 2011/2012
Refresher Programme for Redundant Referred Apprentices. To assist referred apprentices who wish to progress, FÃS and the Institutes of Technology have developed a short duration programme to prepare redundant apprentices to repeat their outstanding assessments, and this programme will be offered by the Institutes of Technology in Term 1 â€“ 2011/2012
LÃ©argas has provided support to FÃS for apprentices to complete on-the-job training with assessment with employers in Germany and Finland. In the period to the end of May 2011, over 100 apprentices have undertaken the programme and FÃS has received approval subject to contract for a further 43 redundant apprentice placement in 2011/2012
Conversion Programme â€“ Electrical /Plumbing. FÃS has developed a Conversion Programme for redundant Electrical and Plumbing apprentices who have worked primarily in the Construction Sector to undertake additional training in modules associated with the Manufacturing and Facility Maintenance Sectors. The pilot programme provides a combination of off and on-the-job training in a FÃS Training Centre and with work experience in the Manufacturing and Facility Maintenance Sectors.