Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 2 December 2021
Select Committee on Education and Skills
Estimates for Public Services 2021
Vote 26 - Education and Skills (Supplementary)
Vote 45 - Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science (Supplementary)
That is fine and I acknowledge the Minister of State’s answer. I was not familiar with the 2009 legislation and it is before my time in the Oireachtas. Perhaps we can come back to that point at a later stage.
I refer to the measures that the Department has introduced in getting our third-level institutions open again, including the €100 million, the supports and the public health advice that has been given. It is fantastic to see our third-level institutions back up and running with the vast majority of students back in the classroom or lecture theatre. That is very welcome. As the Minister of State said, it is a great challenge to keep it that way particularly with the unknowns before us.
I want to focus, however, on apprenticeships and their significant importance to us. Deputy Tully also touched on this.
Flowing from the action plan for apprenticeship, as has been mentioned, the interim head of the national apprenticeship office is a massive ramp-up in a campaign to get this apprenticeship programme in the public domain more. I appreciate that the CAO process will put the programme front and centre in the awareness of students. I believe that in identifying any deficit in critical skills the apprenticeship schemes across the country will play an extraordinary role in plugging that gap. Will the programme be marketed to increase the number of people involved in the apprenticeship programme that has been put in place by the Department?