Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Tuesday, 2 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Education and Skills

Leaving Certificate Reform: Discussion (Resumed)

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

The Deputy is correct. I will ask the HEA to provide to the committee any data it has on numbers and percentages and maybe SOLAS also has some information. I will highlight two actions we are taking. One is on apprenticeships. We are setting targets for the public sector for the first time for 750 apprentices to be taken on in a year in the public sector by 2025, compared to an average of approximately 80 now. It is a big step up. The quota for who will do what will be worked out between now and next July and then brought to Government. That is about the public sector having to step up.

Alongside that, in the apprenticeship action plan, should be read the commitment to increase diversity among apprenticeships. There is specific reference to disabilities. We will be setting up a group in the apprenticeship action plan to look at how we improve access. I am happy to keep in touch with the Deputy on that. We are doing broader work on which I can write to the committee. We are quite excited about it. One could argue the cliff edge for a person with disability has moved from being from primary to secondary and is now from secondary to third level.

That is not to say there are not good examples out there, the Trinity Centre for People with Intellectual Disabilities, TCPID, being one that springs to mind. I met parents of children with Down's syndrome recently who told me that not only was it heartbreaking for them as parents to not watch their child progress post-school, but they were having to watch their child regress. A fund of €5 million was provided in the budget this year to provide pathways for people with intellectual disabilities into further and higher education. The Minister of State at the Department of Education, Deputy Madigan, and the Minister of State at the Department of Health, Deputy Rabbitte, and I have been charged with looking at how we do that transition planning. When I was Minister for Health we were having a conversation every year about school leavers in the context of residential places and day care. While I am not suggesting that is not important, I am not sure that the same level of conversation is being had about training places, for example. In fact, I know it is not, to be quite frank. We have been asked by the Taoiseach to bring proposals to the Cabinet committee on education. If this committee wants to hear more on that, we can provide more details but as an initial step, I will send a note on it.


No comments

Log in or join to post a public comment.