Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills

Leaving Certificate Reform: Discussion with School Management Bodies

Mr. John Irwin:

Mr. Crone mentioned apprenticeships. Apprenticeships have been undervalued as a form of further learning in this society. The media are probably the worst proponents of this view in many cases. They look at schools and create these so-called league tables. A student who progresses to an apprenticeship and who undertakes that form of learning is not valued. That apprenticeship is not considered further learning. That is a societal reflection on a valid and excellent form of learning. Our society is losing out from not having enough people entering the myriad different apprenticeships available. I remember that, when I was a principal in a town in the midlands, the ESB was prominent in the area. The most valued and prized progression for many of our students was an ESB apprenticeship where they would receive excellent training and fantastic career opportunities, both within Ireland and internationally. However, if one speaks to the media they say they are not including apprenticeships. It is a dreadful approach by certain media outlets. They completely undervalue a valid and excellent form of continued learning. I am sorry; that is my little bugbear.


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