Dáil debates

Thursday, 19 May 2022

Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions

Apprenticeship Programmes

11:40 am

Photo of Niall CollinsNiall Collins (Limerick County, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I thank the Deputies for the question. A range of skills are needed to support delivery of the new national retrofit scheme, including general operatives, those with short retrofit-related courses, craft apprentices and those with professional qualifications in areas such as architecture and engineering. Consequently, education and training relevant to the skills needed for retrofitting targets are delivered across the full remit of the tertiary sector system, through mainstream education and training as well as through specific programmes such as Springboard, the human capital initiative and Skillnet Ireland.

Among the 65 apprenticeships available, retrofit activity is included in a range of construction-related programmes. Curricula are regularly updated to keep pace with changes in industry and regulations.

Recognising the diversity of skills required for retrofit and the variety of apprenticeships available, it is considered that current training options offer a more agile and effective way to meet labour and skills needs in a way that meets quality standards rather than requiring a dedicated apprenticeship programme.

In the further education and training sector, there are some 50 programmes in areas such as green skills and sustainability, which include retrofits and near-zero energy building, NZEB. The training opportunities are provided by the on-site retrofit programmes in centres of excellence in Laois–Offaly, Waterford–Wexford and Limerick–Clare education and training boards, ETBs. The Minister will open the latest NZEB centre in Limerick on Monday. We intend to open three more, including in Cork. We are really pleased to confirm that we have reached an agreement to open a new centre of excellence in Dublin also.

Ongoing innovation in delivery includes a move to a blended model of training in addition to the development of a pilot virtual-reality programme, which is expected to be operational by the end of the year. It is really important to change the perception. There is no retrofitting apprenticeship, as I stated, but there are courses available to men and women who work in construction-related trades currently. They can last between three days and three weeks.


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