Written answers

Wednesday, 19 May 2021

Department of Education and Skills

Covid-19 Pandemic

Photo of Louise O'ReillyLouise O'Reilly (Dublin Fingal, Sinn Fein)
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169. To ask the Minister for Education and Skills the reason apprentice electricians at GMIT are being requested to do their final exams in an exam hall in person; if this is in line with best practice to stop the spread of Covid-19; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [26724/21]

Photo of Simon HarrisSimon Harris (Wicklow, Fine Gael)
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COVID-19 related suspension of practical training in Training Centres, Institutes of Technology and Technological Universities has had a significant impact on the ability of craft apprentices to access off-the-job training leading to an increase in waiting times for completion of practical training and assessment and an effective extension of the duration of some craft apprenticeship programmes.

To ensure that apprentices are facilitated in progressing in their programmes insofar as possible, the theory aspects of off-the-job training for craft apprenticeship has been delivered remotely since early January. Given the nature of craft apprenticeship practical training and assessment forms a substantial and essential component of the programmes.

A phased return to face to face training has commenced for those apprentices who had been undertaking remote teaching and learning or who were close to completion of phase 2, 4 or 6 when training was suspended in January 2021. When permissible, practical training is operating at approximately 50% normal capacity to ensure adherence to public health guidance.

Since 6th April, phase 4 and phase 6 apprentices have been able to return onsite in Institutes of Technology (IoTs) and Technological Universities (TUs) to complete essential practical training and assessment. Completion of practical training and assessment is required to allow apprentices to progress to their next phase of training and to complete their apprenticeship in a timely manner. All institutions with learners (including apprentices) onsite are operating on the basis of current public health guidance.


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